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No obvious winner after latest BC election leaders debate: expert

Last Updated Jun 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm PST

(NEWS 1130 File Photo)

Retired political scientist thinks BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark appeared distracted during second, final debate

Expert says all three party leaders were lacking substances in their responses during TV leaders debate

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There may have been no clear winners and losers during last night’s debate between the leaders of BC’s three major political parties, but there were a few surprises.

And it certainly wasn’t boring. “Overall it was an extremely lively affair,” says retired University of Victoria Political Scientist Norman Ruff.

And that included what he called some role-reversal. “[Andrew] Weaver was much more aggressive than in the radio debate. [John] Horgan to some extent was more subdued. Although both Christy Clark and Mr. Weaver tried to bate him, at times he was smiling almost as much as Christy Clark smiled.”

He adds the affair included a few entertaining barbs. “There were moments that had you feeling like, ‘Oh my gosh! This contest is as much NDP versus Greens as it is NDP [and] Greens versus the Liberals,” explains Ruff, adding at times, Clark seemed distracted.

“At times Clark seemed to be sidelined. I thought her best line of the evening actually was the, ‘I’m not going to debate whether my rally was bigger than yours.’ Mr. Horgan and Mr. Weaver were sort of putting out the numbers [of people] that had been attending their rallies.”
But he faults all three of them for a major lack of substance.

When it came to the issues voters want to hear about, the trio covered a wide-range of policy areas, but perhaps too large. “It struck me that they adopted quite general positions and if you were looking for particular policy details that were relevant to the question that was being asked, that wasn’t there. I’m particularly critical of Christy Clark. She kept on falling back on the job protection, job creation mantra.”

And it’s because of that he doubts that any significant number of votes were won or lost. “Overall I don’t see a significant shift as a result of this debate. And in terms of issues again, I was disappointed by the high level of generalities,” says Ruff.

As for who won, Ruff says Clark didn’t do herself any favours. “I think I would give a little bit of an edge to Weaver but I think Horgan probably held his own.”

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