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article imageCanadian federal leaders comment on their debate performances

By Andrew Moran     Apr 13, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - The English federal leaders' debate has come to a close, and the party leaders are now gearing up for the French debate. Who won? Who lost? Who made the biggest gain? What do the leaders think of their performances?
As the Canadian federal party leaders gear up for Round 2 of the debates, participants are looking back on their performances; what went wrong, what they can improve upon and what they should continue with.
Following Tuesday night’s two-hour televised debate, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe spoke to reporters, according to CBC News.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking at event in the Greater Toronto Area.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking at event in the Greater Toronto Area.
Despite the candidates making direct jabs at the Prime Minister, Harper, who was labelled by Layton as someone who has “changed” throughout his tenure as Prime Minister, told reporters that he felt “good about how we did in the debate” because he highlighted the government’s record on the “real issues,” such as the tax rate and economic growth.
“I think we did that, we communicated to Canadians and laid out where we want to take the country and that was my objective and I feel quite comfortable that we achieved that,” said Harper.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who was accused by Layton of being present in the House of Commons for only 30 percent of the time, said he wanted to show Canadian voters that the Prime Minister has a paucity of respect for the nation’s democratic structure, notes the Ottawa Citizen.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
Courtesy Liberal Party of Canada
“I think I explained why we're having an election, which is that we asked for the truth about his jets, jails and corporate tax breaks, and (Harper) didn't tell the House of Commons the truth so he was found in contempt,” said Ignatieff. “That's why we're having an election.”
The Toronto Sun reports that the NDP leader, who was able to make direct remarks at each of the leaders, was happy about his performance because he made the party’s positions clear and established that Ignatieff has been Harper’s “best friend” for two and a half years.
“We distinguished our position very clearly by pointing out that it was Mr. Ignatieff and his party that helped Mr. Harper for two and a half years. We have those two old parties with their old problems and their failures,” said Layton.
Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe
Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe
Courtesy Bloc Québécois
Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois leader, continued to criticize the Prime Minister following the debate. Duceppe wanted an answer on the Conservative Party’s initiative to buy tens of millions of dollars on 65 F-35 fighter jets.
“Well, I would imagine if you have a contract, you know how much it costs. (Harper) says he doesn't know,” said Duceppe. “He refused to answer that. So we're going from $75 million for a fighter aircraft that probably doesn't even have a motor, that has no attack or defence system in it. Did we buy kites? What did we buy?”
The federal leaders will debate in French Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST. Canadian voters head to the polls on May 2. Be sure to continue checking Digital Journal’s Canada Election 2011 coverage.
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