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No real 'knock out punches' in final debate of federal election campaign

Summary

The final leaders' debate was much more tame than the first two

A political researcher says there were no real 'knock out punches' in the French debate, the last before the election

Researcher Stephanie Plante says she doesn't think the debate will have much of an impact on the campaign

GATINEAU, Que. – The six federal party leaders have squared off in the final debate of the election campaign.

The previous two debates have been described as yelling matches, but this one was much more tame. That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few clashes, though.

The two frontrunners, Liberal Justin Trudeau and Conservative Andrew Scheer, went head-to-head on a number of issues, while both took aim at Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, whose party is surging in Quebec and threatening both their chances to form a majority government.

The leaders debated a range of topics, including assisted dying, immigration, deficit spending, Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, and pipelines.

Trudeau was forced to defend his record on climate change against Green Leader Elizabeth May and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. The environment came out as one of the biggest topics of the night.

Stephanie Plante, a political researcher with the University of Ottawa, says most of the leaders stood their ground and got their messages across, but there was no real knock out punch.

“And that’s OK, because this was just a debate more full of chops and more full of substantive policy questions,” she says, adding she doesn’t believe this will cause any big shift in the campaign. “Generally, debates don’t really move the needle that much.”

Advanced polls open on Friday, with little more than a week to go before the general election.