Digesting the Ontario Leadership Election Debate by Jamie Gilcig 053118

Cornwall Ontario – This has been a mystifying election.   Leadership issues with the PC’s, the demise of a Premier and her party, and Andrea Horwath digging her heels in and not doing the right thing, as Doug Ford did, and jettisoning candidates that clearly should not be in elected office.   And yes, Hitler memes qualify one to not be in elected office.

The debate had a different focus for the three leaders and any review should be based on the optical goal.

Doug Ford simply had to not screw up.   He achieved that.  While pollsters spin numbers if you go to the talented Eric Grenier’s Poll tracker it shows that seat projections, combined for the NDP and Liberals in total simply haven’t nudged much.   The action has been the adjustment to the Liberals incinerating under Kathleen Wynne and the Labour movement returning to the NDP along with those that oppose a Ford Government huddling under the NDP banner.

Ford didn’t score many actual points debating and his continual referral to people as “Friends” was an overload of cheese that certainly didn’t win him any crossover votes.

Andrea Horwath had to show that she would be fit to be Premier.  She was the big loser on the night.   Not only did she not win points, but her endless interruptions and talking over Ford and Wynne soon became a negative distraction.

Talking over is a tact that can be productive in debates, but you have to pick your spots and make them count or you look like….Andrea Horwath.   She also has failed ultimately by not removing candidates like Tasleem Riaz.  Doug Ford removed a candidate that played a large role in his winning the leadership for essentially less.  That the NDP have about a half dozen dramatically questionable candidates is frankly….scary.    That someone that wants to be Premier said she wouldn’t support back to work legislation is also a big cause for concern.

Kathleen Wynne won the night.   It looked like she knew that she was toast and simply was positioning herself as best she could because there’s a chance that if there’s a minority government that she’ll be the deciding factor in who gets to be Premier.  Her sorry, not sorry line simply was an extension of why she’s flamed out this election.   Ego sometimes has to be checked and clearly her party allowed this to happen instead of convincing her to walk the plank a year ago as her predecessor did.   And it’s a credit to the Province that she’s not hated for who she is, but what she’s done.   As she rang off her accomplishments each was akin to another flaming tire around her.

Honestly Kathy, if an economy was that improved the deficit would be down; not up.  Simply burning through debt to jack up an economy is not a productive thing ultimately.

The best part of the broadcast I watched were the media scrums and of course the yummy Rosie Barton.   The candidates really showed more of themselves during the scrums.




This election also highlights a critical situation in journalism and politics.   Very few people watched the leadership debate or any debate in its entirety.  Not that many watched even part.  People rely on coverage from Media outlets, and get bombarded on anti-social media.

While we journalists have to stick to facts unless writing an opinion, facebook posts do not many times it seems?

With parties and candidates now sending dollars south of the border that has led to a lot less coverage this election as the parties seem to not be courting favor with media and simply relying on flimsy social media plans that don’t always work as in the case of the Liberals who actually for example, simply didn’t send this newspaper caucus releases or the usual rhetoric.

As I shared with one regional candidate.   “Let facebook cover your all candidates debate since that’s where you advertised” and can you really blame media who after all have to pay their bills to bring you the news?

This is a crisis for democracy actually.  Without the boundaries of responsible journalism elections may end up being won by who tells the biggest whoppers on social media or which tweet goes viral rather than actual facts and that’s a slippery slope and no way to elect a leader.

It’s certainly time to consider legislation to limit ad dollars on elections leading the Province or Country.

Did you watch the debates? What did you think?  You can post your comments below and please support independent media by hitting those donate button on CFN and supporting our amazing sponsors!

Photo: screen cap


  1. Very good points, Jamie.

  2. Kathleen Wynne may have won the night. I’ll give her this she is an excellent speaker. But as a politician she sucks swamp water. She had five years to fix this province and did NOTHING to help it. All the initiatives she spouts about in her ads were all in the last year when the Fiberals realized they were in deep crap with the voters. They won’t be a party after June 7.

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