If at some point in the future one might be looking into the archives for the recent leaders’ debate, it will surely be filed under comedies.
Whoever designed and approved the format should resign from the Leaders’ Debate Commission and audition for a job writing comedy for some upstart comedians working improv.
It will be known as the debate that didn’t allow debate, and allowed the leaders to wriggle away from answering the substance of questions. There were a paltry few questions from voters that got tired answers from the leaders, who responded with lines used over and over on the hustings.
And who was this moderator who was allowed to make more statements than questions? Even worse, somehow got entangled with the suggestion that Québécois were racist and undemocratic in an exchange with their leader. At times, this moderator appeared to be more of a participant than an impartial mediator.
The flow of the proceedings was frequently interrupted by a series of newsroom personages that appeared to be seeking stardom rather than investigating. Prior to enunciating their questions they were given more time to orate than the time given to those who were to respond.
According to most political pundits there was no clear-cut winner, but the yet-to-be elected Green Party candidate got some airtime to introduce herself, her mom, dad, grandmother and brother.
As is usual in these forums, the current PM was attacked by the other leaders with a venom that was a mix of twisted statements and misquotes. However, the bizarre format did not allow the PM to respond to the accusations. In one instance the moderator gave the PM five seconds to respond to an accusation. In keeping with the cartoonish nature of this event it brought to mind Pogo’s quote stating, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Further to the comedic nature, it is only in Canada that the party leader who proclaims their aim is to dissolve the federation of Canada is invited to a national forum to promote unity.
The studio setting for the debate was likely designed by game show producers who were graduates of Disney’s school of fantasy and fabulous. What the decor demonstrated was like the glitter of a gong show rather than the solemnity of a forum to chose the leader of Canada.
A number of political pundits and pollsters have suggested that this performance likely did not move the needle of support for any of the candidates in any direction. If that be so what a waste of an opportunity for voters to assess who they should vote for in the election of September 20.
Perhaps when the dust has settled, the Leaders’ Debates Commission will reassess its leadership and mandate to preside over future debates and avoid a repeat of this past shameful effort.