Sep 08, 2021

By Jane Brown

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Five federal party leaders face off Wednesday evening in the first of two official televised election debates in what may well be their best chance to sway voters before election day September 20th.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul will participate in both the french debate Wednesday and the english debate Thursday evening.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier did not meet the criteria established by the independent leaders’ debate commission for participation.

Strategists Karen Stintz, John Capobianco and Charles Sousa told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Guest Host Jane Brown how the leaders can create breakout moments.

“Trudeau has to stay focussed and be disciplined in his approach and not be caught off guard by the fringe groups who want to knock him off his game. Use them to his advantage,” Sousa, who’s a former Ontario Liberal finance minister, explained.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for Erin O’Toole to get out there and let people know that he’s not Andrew Scheer, that he’s not Stephen Harper, that he’s a new leader with new ideas and a new approach and that his policies are actually mainstream Canadian policies,” said Capobianco of FleishmanHillard HighRoad.

“Erin O’Toole is in a bit of a sweet spot going into this debate because the strategy to date has been to villainize the leader of the Conservatives, and Erin is not a villain,” explained Karen Stintz, CEO of Variety Village.

The debates come as opinion polls suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are stuck in a tight race at the top.

Both debates are at the Museum of Canadian History in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the river from Parliament Hill.

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