Why debates still matter in 2019
This is a CBC podcast. Hey Martin and I'm Alina Gene Abdel Mahmoud and this is party lines. This is what happens to your voice halfway through the campaign. I mean we are here to help you make sense of the federal election and we we're also here to do as much damage to Rosemary's voice his less than three weeks to go before Canadians head to the ballot box which means we're halfway through the campaign heard the leaders leaders pitches and rose the numbers. They have not moved stuck in the mud. They do seem quite similar to the way we started. Yes so nothing's what's happening with this winter. That is apparently grabbed voters attention. Why don't they seem engage. Maybe because they have lives you know like you and I these alleged voting wise that it is you. WanNa talk about Rosie. I'm stressed about this because polls at least according to the CDC bowl tracker have been basically at the same place at the WH- started smoking paid Rosie. We're at the halfway point of this campaign and we really just I haven't seen much movement in the polls so let's look at the national polling averages from the poll tracker still a very tight race between the Conservatives and liberals about third so we started the Liberals Conservatives service were sort of tied right around thirty three percents right now they've moved by point six percent in favor of conservative so nick not a lot now the while the leaders have been out there. They've been making speeches. It'd be making pitches. They've been expressing their visions of what they want this country to look like so. It's a little bit worrying to me I'm wondering if the parties have done enough to capture the imagination and the attention of voters and you have to imagine in an election that is taking place at a time where whether such our our global turmoil very sad time for the American people for our country impeaching a president south of the border the president might be getting peach now now no one knows what's happening with brexit coming out of the E U on October the thirty first come what may Iran and Saudi Arabia seemed to be on on the brink of conflict for a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities yesterday and then here at home. We have an election that is largely about a lot of boutique tax tax credits these parties keep promising these like really small sort of incremental changes to your lives and I'm wondering if there is a larger campaign question. Shen that is absent in this election. Is this election about anything or is it just not about anything yet. I guess would be the other way to frame that so I ah I'm glad you brought it up because I think that is something that the people are wondering because when you make a decision to vote it has to be about something obviously that that matters to you and motivate motivate you to get out there and do it and I think in the last election in two thousand fifteen where I didn't lose my voice but it was seventy two days it was a sort of a referendum on Stephen Harper who had been in power for ten years and there was desire for change and there was a completely different idea in the window embodied Bye Bye Justin Trudeau. This is a little bit different. Here's a guy who's been there for four years. He wants another mandate. There's two new federal leaders with the Conservatives in the end EP Green Party leader. Who's WHO's tried many times to to get more support so my point I guess is that there's nothing big out there. It's not it's not that people are GonNa say I've had enough because I've been with this guy too long. They might have had enough of true but not because he's been there for such a long time but I also wonder whether those things that you're talking about the bits and pieces. Don't add up or something. Well see my whole thing of approaching. This is I'm thinking about the climate strikes. Millions of people have been coming out to those massive numbers here in Toronto in Montreal all the way across Canada. There is something there that is motivating a lot of people we're not at least from the numbers. Ah for at least from the polling numbers we're not seeing the same kind of excitement about the offerings of political parties for example so seems to be this disconnect between Canadians who are clearly paying attention to a to a a larger question yeah in at least one topic area but not when it comes to this election yeah yeah I mean we had sort of a week of climate built around around some of those big protests that you're talking about and I noticed the engagement of people obviously sleet and agree that people are worried about climate change and and sort of had a moment where I thought oh maybe this is it. Maybe this is the thing that we're going to make a decision on the Green Party. Leader Elizabeth may likes to say that if we don't do something now it'll be too late right. What we can avoid is having them become so catastrophic that human civilization collapses with a lifetime of our children? This is not hyperbole and certainly the offer the policy offers on climate change or art drastically different different so you can you can make an informed decision about how you think is the best way to tackle climate change all that to say though that didn't happen. I. I don't think that this election shen is about climate change or just about climate change or that the people that we saw in the streets have now become all the people running to the ballot box to vote so the climate climate change didn't move the dials that much the black face incident didn't move the dial that much all these boutique tax credits rolling out you know the liberal saying we'll give low income voters to grant to go visit. National Parks conservatives bringing back income sprinkling that these promises that the rolling out while I guess interesting according to the Party's saying you WanNa go for these voters voters was kind of looking at this being like I'm not I don't know they're not moved by it yeah or or they might be moved by it. add up to something yes yeah so. I think one of two things you look at the boutique tax credits that largely the conservatives have put in place or tax breaks that the liberals have have put in place and you say to yourself. Oh I would get something from that. You know I do want fitness tax credit for my kid or do the public transport tax credit. Those are both conservative measures so that's enough for me. That's enough for me to make decision to vote for you right like that's something that impacts my life directly and I feel like this will help me or it becomes a bigger conversation about about what you just said. All those things add up to something so conservatives believe that there should be less government in our lives so that's why they take all those tax credits credits to give the money back to you so you can start making decisions rather than creating programs so conservatives for conservatives that division get out of the way and let Canadians look after themselves and let us take care of the country and make sure things are okay here for the Liberals. It's obviously a different vision and and it would be a similar vision on the left right they andy me and the Greens we're GonNa make your life easier by creating things to help you whether it be systems gums or programs or whatever and so maybe that's the vision but how do you put that on a bumper sticker. You certainly don't you you know Roland at around. Maybe like twenty different small ads. I think this is a little bit of what our life is like now. Politicians will assemble these very targeted targeted policies that are like wow this policy will get the votes of these people and these people and these people and then through that you can assemble some kind of coalition. That looks like Oh that's enough to get you know this number of seats those numbers votes. I'm wondering though if if that is enough well I'm wondering if there's any inspiration in this. Are People going to be jumping at the post be like let me vote for very small incremental changes might benefit the slight way so I would. I would ask the question does every election have to be about something big that would be my first question okay and my my next question would be maybe those things that seemed tiny are actually big to the person right like for as. I said maybe there's little things there that that are big enough to affect a person and let's be honest if we saw a different government than the one we have now. If it was conservative green in our end EP things would look different not not when you wake up the next day but pretty quickly the country would start to move in a different direction and you would start to see that whether it be on the climate policy how they approach Y- foreign affairs You know what what you get in your income tax bracket hit all that kind of stuff so it's it's. Maybe not just what one little thing looks like to you which might be enough which might be enough of vision for you but I I think it's it's a good question to ask is. What would the country look like then you know six months from now if I went with this party that that'd be a good question to ask yourself? I guess I just keep thinking of the song I need a hero and I and I'm wondering if any voters order singing the songs themselves or is this just more much more of a yeah. This election doesn't need to be that big. I just need to see these changes in my life and maybe that's a valid way. The vote will try to get behind it and maybe it's. Maybe it's just too soon like maybe people just don't get tuned in the campaign. I know but not everyone is as not says as we are who people are buying groceries or getting the kids to swim lessons. They're paying their bills or going to work. The numbers have been moved. I mean listen. I I get that I get that you know I also have a life but that is that's fair but but I'm wondering if this point because because you've you've heard that there's election fillet probably heard the broad strokes of what each party is promising you and none of this. Has You know moved the fortunes of any party okay so that actually is a beautiful segue into my topic almost as if you knew it or do you want to talk about one of the things that can change an election that can define an election that can turn an election is when the leaders have to face off in the debate so i. WanNa talk about debates and how they change elections or do they change elections. I'll give you an example from the last election so so the last election silly long eleven weeks and we managed to have five debates about everything right that is not what's happening this time round. We are recording this. The day of the first debate were just intruder will appear the french-language debate on Via and we are recording this before obviously next week's two debates with the English and the French one. I should say I'm one of the moderators of that English debate. I'm not telling you what my questions are. What is the benefit it'd be hosting the show. There are fewer debates which means that there are fewer opportunities to to to see into evaluate things but in the last election there were or five of them and you might remember that people said Justin Trudeau just has to show up with pants on comes on stage with his pants on he'll probably exceed expectations but the lowering of but he also took moments to paint a stark picture of what he was about versus what Stephen Harper was about so Stephen Even Harper the conservative leader obviously and the Prime Minister and Justin Trudeau faced off around a piece of legislation that conservatives put in place called see twenty four and essentially allowed allowed the government to strip a dual national of their Canadian citizenship. If they had done something bad or they had done something wrong and the idea was that it created different tiers of Canadians because you could treat one one way and another Canadian is a Canadian you devalue. Do you devalue the citizenship of every Canadian dramatic moment because last election was not just about change but it was also about values news and that was one one moment where you saw what was on offer the two different things very starkly on that issue and I I'm not saying won the election action right. I don't know that any debate could do that but I think it was. a key moment for him. I appreciate you saying that. It didn't him the election. The reason for that is because not that many people watch the debates. I would really hate to say that in the company of a debate moderator so please ignore it will be the exception exception yes millions of Canadians coast to coast to coast but right so debates themselves are not that widely watched they never have been they've largely been the purview of this kind of crowd on the crowd who follows the minutiae of politics however the narratives that form after the EH so the way that the media is covering the debates and being really significant so in in that sense the baser really dangerous territory for incumbents because they have everything to lose and really nothing to gain. It's like if you show up an answer. The questions correctly congratulations. You're the prime minister. It's a little bit your job whereas if if you are Jagmeet Singh if you're into sheer of your Elizabeth may you have quite a bit Monday. Oh of course you have quite a bit to gain from this this moment because people may not be necessarily familiar with you as a person or have a hard time people are not familiar with Elizabeth may she's been leaders in two thousand six but certainly for Andrew Scheer relatively newly same as Jagmeet Singh and Maxime Bernier. There's there's a lot to be gained here. There is is because while it doesn't win elections. It does shape perceptions which is what you're talking about and the next day the punditry of the land weigh in on whether there was that knockout punch and there really isn't on our weather someone outperformed someone else or someone you know had had disastrous performance and that does get sort of own a loop on social feeds podcasts TV and that's where people start to see it and then something sort of starts to change in their mind. I think that's the potential risk or benefit certainly the moment in twenty seven election when Michael Ignatieff went into the debates the the conservatives tried to paint him as a sort of like intellectual at touch dude and the debates kind of proved that point or at least as a narrative around them to release had yeah he speaks in in this realm that doesn't really exist like for if you're going to promote it abroad as we should. You've you've got the respected at home your man who will shut down anything you cannot control. That's the core of your vision of government and it's inimical hostile a to the values of democracy on which this country has mystic knight if this is simply not true Canada's one of the most are there any famous debating knock on movies. You WanNa talk well so you were the one that wanted me to it but it is the one that everybody talks about from nineteen eighty four so I was eight and you was not born. I was negative negative so we did have to go and rewatch it because we're not gonNA pretend we were watching it at the time so in nineteen eighty that moment in nineteen eighty-four John Turner Liberal leader Brian Rooney the Progressive Conservative leader who would come go on to become prime minister had that that clash over those patronage appointments and that one line has really become I catch phrase's and even for people who were apparently you had an option sir to say no and you chose to say yes the old attitudes and the old stories of the Liberal Party that Sir if I may say respectfully that is not good enough for Canadian. I had no option. I was able people do point to that moment as a moment that changed the election pretty radically and they make fun of it but I actually actually have a Gif of that on my phone that I use quite often really. I'm one of those people oh man. I think you might be more political minded than I am. I don't possible so justin. Trudeau clearly is the incumbent and maybe has the most to lose because he has to defend a record. Where do you think how do you think the others are going into. Let's take the french-language out of it because not then becomes a whole conversation about who speaks French better but let's. Let's take the french-language debate out of. How do you think they're going to do. Well the first debate of this season. The Mcclain's debate Justin Trudeau was not yes there was there was actually quite a bit of buzz about Doug meets things performance again. It's that sort of low expectations thing. Jagmeet Singh had not done that many public sort of speeches up until that point then he showed up he performed pretty well now now it's legislated its legislative discrimination and it's sad and it's hurtful and I think about all the people that wanted to pursue becoming an educator or maybe wanted to become a lawyer or judge in how it's telling them that they are less worthy. They don't belong and I think what I saw that there was a feeling that the andy piece floor is just GonNa fall out and this election but people at least the narrative after that debate was that then DP portions would be okay. They're not gonNA have a you know an utter and complete collapsed is because he did all right and I think if he does he who's able to do that again. At the more widely watched debates then they became only go up and maxine Bernie who is the leader of the very the newly formed people's Party of Canada fought his way into this debate and that's potentially problematic for Andrew Scheer because maxine Bernie on the political spectrum would be further due to the right of Andrew Scheer making that debate potential very interesting. He's used to taking the jabs at a trudeau dozen every day but when you have someone coming at you from you right does change your perspective well. I think that's the target on on Andrew Cheers back that he wouldn't have had before at all you know so of them. I would say Elizabeth. May's got the most debate experience she's done it. Probably the OH so hasn't been invited to every debate at someone who's just had an interview with her. It's pretty clear that she is she is trying to win the balance of power if possible OSPEL and just trying to win more influence. So how much damage does she want to do to someone who she might end up working with. I think is something we should watch on Monday right. So do you think people should watch in an election like this where the numbers having moved that much right now make up your own mind. This is one way for you to make up your mind. If you haven't been acquainted waited with the leaders. This is one way for you to see how they perform how warm they are. How strong of a leader they are. How clear their answers are directly from from them? All should really watch you. Moderated debate well the good news without giving away anything about the debate. The good news is that my job is to stay out of the way so it is. It's not a Rosemary Barton moment or any of the other four lovely women that are moderating with me it is I'm there to referee into. Keep keep time it is about letting these people that WANNA lead the country duke it out on stage verbally that's visit physically and and show Canadians what's what's their what's on offer and who they are. I think you're right that that's the most important thing that you can probably we get from it and to do that without the filter without us filtering over it so. I don't think there's any like that the rawness of that of being able to see for yourself what they're about out. I think is hugely beneficial for voter. We we pride ourselves on having a relatively contained short campaign period and yet when you know people are paying attention that entirety of that campaign period you can watch a couple of hours on a on a Wednesday. Is it a Wednesday. It's a Monday. It's a wild days as wander back and busy Monday. Sorry or you can watch it later. On Youtube this auctions parting shots it is time for party shots so parting shots of course is the last thought that we leave you with on this podcast so you can think about something and then get back to us about about how you feel about it. This time this time will one story that has been dominating dominating just kind of flies around just like won't die I even though you wish it would is the question of what was Andrew Shears job before he went into politics. I'm he said he was an insurance broker. OCHRE aglow broke the story that he was not fully licensed to be an insurance broker. When I was twenty four working in an insurance office I received my credit nation under the Canadian accredited insurance broker program for General Insurance and and I left before obtaining full license. Somebody did receive that accreditation. Thank God the election won't turn on the question of whether Andrew Scheer was promised at my stop however it does raise I think a broader and more interesting point do you care about what what leaders previous job was before they went into politics or even an MP right. What what should be on your resume your curriculum vitae to get into the house of comments? It's because it's so often lawyers lawyers and there's like a gazillion this election three lawyers were were party leaders. Yes aggressive so we should say who they are. Yes please Jagmeet the lawyer with as lawyer. Maxime Bernier is also a lawyer and then you have into sheer former insurance not broker and and Justin Trudeau and Eve Hosoi Blanchette who are lovely producer Ashley tells me was the manager for the Quebec rocker if left so do people out there care. Do you have an opinion about what your elected official did in a past life. Is that something you think about. When you had to to the ballot box or not let us know you can reach me on twitter at reservoir? I'm at Alameda eighty-eight. That's E. M. I. N. Eight. Thank God you do that. Thanks for listening to party lines from ABC. News and CBC. PODCAST feels like my voice has gotten better from talking. I'm Rosemarie Barton coast of the national and I'm lameda mood a a person with healing qualities of the voice and for a living. I'm an editor amused curation at buzzfeed news this episode Let us know what you think have reduced who's to hear from you and tell a friend to wash debate have a debate party. Get some chefs. Get some chicken wings chicken wings yeah yeah. It's like the Super Bowl but for Politics Cenex me for more C._B._C. podcasts go to C._B._C. Dot C._A. Slash podcasts.