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Live Blog: Canada's Federal Leaders Debate the Economy

There's a debate! We have things to say.

Look at all these dudes who want to run the country. Photo via The Canadian Press

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the TV, Canada's three main political dudes took over the boob tube to scrap over the state of the economy and how much two-thirds of them hate Stephen Harper.

In the Globe & Mail-hosted debate, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau traded barbs over the budget, social spending, infrastructure, and whatever else their handlers told them to talk about.


We (Parliamentary Correspondent Justin Ling, Managing Editor Josh Visser, VICE News reporter Hilary Beaumont, Social Media Producer Navi Lamba and random blogger Seb FoxAllen) wrote this live blog as we got a little drunk (on politics).

Archived blog begins now!

9:57 - It's all over. Final analysis. Whatever you thought about the candidates before this debate, you still think the same thing. Only 32 more days. May God have mercy on our souls. - JV


Yes, more print reporters doing broadcast. That's what this night needs.

— Manisha Krishnan (@ManishaKrishnan)September 18, 2015

9:51 - The Jays won. - SF

9:45 - Walmsley: I'm sure you'd agree we had a debate tonight. A highly anticipated, extraordinary debate debate. -HB

9:44 - Wow is it just me or was that just an absolutely extraordinary exchange of ideas. - SF

9:44 - DING! - JV

9:41 - 'They cut seniors!' - Stephen Harper. - JV

9:40 - Here's the 2015 election in one image. - SF

9:37 -

Stephen Harper's three Ts and two Is is Titties. — Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling)September 18, 2015

9:36 - Anyone know how Elizabeth May's doing? This was quite the claim. -HB

Who is rocking Twitter for the — Green Party Canada (@CanadianGreens)September 16, 2015

9:35 - Trudeau: "Mr. Harper, you've had deficits in good times, you've had deficits in bad time. You've had deficits on a train, you've had deficits in the train. You've had deficits in a car, you've had deficits from afar. You've had deficits in a box, you've had deficits like a fox. You've had deficits in Alberta, you've had deficits with Pablo Neruda." - JL


9:34 - Mulcair mentions 'hard rock.' - JV

9:30 - Whenever Harper really wants to make a point he starts talking in a soft voice like he's trying to get a cute little kitty to drink its milk.- JV

9:28 - This is how I live blog. - SF

9:26 - David Walmlsey: "What we've seen here is an extraordinary exchange of ideas."

[Entire VICE office erupts in laughter] - HB

9:26 - 'Jack Layton,' drink! - JV

9:24 - Trudeau: Good ol' Kevvy Lynch, Clerky of the Privy Council -HB

9:23 - Thank you, David. - JV

9:22 - True. - JL

Why are the water glass tables so little? — Bob Kronbauer (@BobKronbauer)September 18, 2015

9:21 - Mulcair has a cop son and an immigrant wife who works in palliative care and he loves kitchen parties #swoon - HB

9:20 - Mulcair tells the story about the time he met a couple with high student debt. Relevant: the NDP has thus far not announced a single thing to offset tuition costs or student debt. - JL

9:17 - David Walmsley is a wee bit annoying, mate. #ladsladsladslads - JV

9:16 -

I could not agree more, Mr. Mulcair. — Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling)September 18, 2015

9:14 - This debate is losing steam. Like the economy, question mark….- JV

9:11 - If I owned stocks or a home or a pension or capital gains or a car or a rental property or a suit I would find this debate extremely informative. -SF

9:11 - Trudeau says Mulcair's plan will do nothing to hike taxes for bank executives. Except that the NDP plan to close the tax loophole for stock options actually would significantly increase the tax bill for many CEOs. Trudeau's plan would, indeed, create a new tax bracket for every penny you make over $200,000. It's basically one form of wealth redistribution telling you that the other form of wealth redistribution sucks. - JL



9:03 -

MULCAIR JUST MADE A POT BURN AT TRUDEAU — Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling)September 18, 2015

9:03 - Mulcair's dad jokes win the debate. - JV

9:01 - Harper: Housing is a great story, there once was a country that didn't have any homeless people, and it was Canada, and everyone could afford to live in downtown Toronto, the end. - HB

9 - Student debt is getting in the way of you procreating according to Mulcair. Maybe we just don't want babies, and would rather spend those student debt payments on drinking and having safe sex? - NL

8:56 - Mulcair says we need to stop using concerns about security to stop us from letting refugees in the country. If you ask me, Mulcair should make the case that letting in more refugees is good for national security. Nobody wants to place a bunch of displaced, dispossessed people in a refugee camp in deplorable conditions alongside radicalized agitants (maybe not a word). Maybe giving people a good home (at least until their country isn't on fire) is a good way to counter extremism and to help our stressed Eurozone allies like Hungary from having to shoulder this burden. - JL

8:55 - Walmsley sounds a lot like Liam Neeson. 'I don't know who you are, but I am a man with a very specific set of skills and I will send Robyn Doolittle after you.' - JV

8:55 - Trudeau: Families need to stand up to tyrants, dictators and terrorists; Me: How many shots do I take for that sentence? #DrinkingGame -HB


8:55 - Trudeau just said families fights terrorists or something, which means my family get-togethers are pretty selfish. - JV

8:54 - Trudeau: "You know who's standing up to terrorists? ME. [rips off shirt, punches corpse of Osama Bin Laden]" -JL

8:53 - Harper: "I'm not sure how you have a secret meeting with the media." OH, I'm sure you'll find a way, Steve. - JL

8:52 - Mulcair: My wife is an immigrant, and if you're not Metis, Innu or First Nations, you're an immigrant, I'M AN IMMIGRANT YOU'RE AN IMMIGRANT LET US IN -HB

8:51 - "Mr. Trudeau, how does immigration figure into your economic plan?"


8:49 - Mulcair's tie is not on brand. - JV

8:47 - Stock option tax loophole! Ya buddy, I am taking advantage of that so hard. - JV

8:44 - Harper: "We are doing this without borrowing money*"

*We are borrowing money. - JL

8:43 - Harper: "We managed to return to a balanced budget*"

*The budget is not balanced. - JL

8:43 - 'Actually let's….' - JV

8:42 - 'Here are the facts,' Harper says and a nation of political nerds drinks. - JV

8:41 - Trudeau can name at least two highways. -JL

8:40 - "What is the future of the newspaper?" -Next Walmsley question - SF

8:39 - 'It's like a high school debating society.' - Someone in the office. - JV

8:38 - Harper says Mulcair wants to hike taxes on the energy sector, which is half true — Mulcair wants to cut some of the tax breaks for the tar sands. (Previously, he wanted to cut all of them.) - JL


8:35 - Trudeau: Mulcair was minister for the environment, well I remember living in Quebec at that time (historic photo) -HB

8:35 - I like the part where they all talk over each other and it sounds like gang vocals. - JV



— CommunistPartyCanada (@compartycanada)September 18, 2015

In case you were wondering. - JL

8:33 - Justin Trudeau wants to go to Paris. Highlander the TV show was shot there. - JV

8:32 - Mulcair: "Rip and ship, ring my bell, roop doop doop" - HB

8:31 - Serious thing — Mulcair sounds actually really coherent on carbon tax. Basically points out that a carbon tax doesn't actually do much to discourage waste (it's a sin tax on consumers who may not be able to change their consumption patterns, like driving to work.) Whereas cap and trade would move money to sustainable industry and encourage heavy industry to reduce energy-intensive development. So. Good for Tom. - JL

8:27 - If you're watching with the sound off, Harper probably isn't drunk FYI - HB

8:26 - #votewaterstools2015 - SF

8:26 - Mulclair all - NL

8:25 -It's cute when debate planners decide not to have opening statements as if their first question won't always just be used as one anyways. -SF

8:24 - Justin Trudeau will make sure your kids get a job. Probably in a mine. Like a child mine. But for the middle class. - JL

8:24 - "Are U Better Off?" - NL

8:23 - Everyone kinda sighs when Trudeau starts. - JV



8:22 - Ding! - JV

8:21 - Stephen Harper says Canada's economy can kick all of the economies asses. Those other economies better not step to Canada. We created 1.3 million net new jobs and most of those are full time, homie, so you better step off. - JL

8:20 - Harper starts by giving condolences to the Dunbar and Blanchette families. - JV

8:18 - "Economic mojo." — DRINK! - JL

8:16 - At least this debate isn't a tablet app. - JV

8:15 - Gripping punditry: "Trudeau could win by not losing" - HB

8:15 - The Maclean's debate definitely had better art design, though I suppose the Globe does not have the benefit of Evan Solomon. - SF

8:13 - In the background, there are illustrated pictures of bridges and houses and dishwashers. Why. - JL

8:12 - Suzy's dad is concerned about her job prospects. - HB

8:11 - What the hell is this? - JV

8:06 - Off to a boring start. - JL