Who won the televised French-language leaders’ debate?

Laval-Les Îles Liberals wade in, concluding it was ‘a good debate’

Who won the televised French-language leaders’ debate?
El-Khoury and Liberal supporters watched the French-language leaders’ debate from his campaign headquarters.
Martin C. Barry

Last week following the federal party leaders’ election debate on French-language television, there was no doubt in the minds of Laval-Les Îles Liberals who won. Beyond that, it was perhaps only a question of sorting out the informed points of view from the partisan positions.

Supporters of incumbent Laval-Les Îles Liberal MP Fayçal El-Khoury had gathered at his campaign headquarters on Notre Dame Blvd. at the corner of Elizabeth to take in the debate, which saw Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exchange views with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet.

‘A good debate,’ says activist

Claudette Lessard, a longtime local advisor and party activist for federal Liberal candidates in elections too numerous to count accurately, deemed it “a good debate, to be frank with you.

“I found that Mr. Trudeau did very well,” she continued, while maintaining that she thought the Bloc Québécois leader outperformed Scheer with the Conservatives. “However, my choice ultimately is Mr. Trudeau.”

Olga Argiriou, who one of around 16 people who gathered around a live projection image feed of the debate, said she was impressed with the way Justin Trudeau carried it off. These were her reasons.

Likes Liberal agenda

“The fact that Mr. Trudeau is very determined to save the planet,” she said. “And the fact that he’s actually making good points on what he’s going to do in the future to change things. The fact that he changed the old age system, bringing it back to what it was – giving money to the elderly.”

Although she found Conservative leader Scheer somewhat out of his depth at one point, she gave NDP leader Singh a passing grade. “He did great,” Argiriou said, agreeing that Singh had a remarkably good command of the French language despite his upbringing in suburban Toronto. As for the Bloc’s leader, she said he came on “a little strong” and “took out the claws” at a certain point.

Valerie Arakelian said an important moment for her came “when I saw my leader.” She was, of course, referring to none other than Justin Trudeau. “When I hear how he talks, I know he wants something good for our country.” As for the other leaders, she added, “I hear what is their opinions, but it says nothing to my heart.”

Who won the televised French-language leaders’ debate?
Incumbent Laval-Les Îles MP Fayçal El-Khoury, left, listens as Liberal leader Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during last week’s French-language party leaders’ debate.

Likes the Liberal leader

Mageda Bassila said this about the French-language leaders’ debate: “Oh, it was very good. Mr. Trudeau was good. He said everything that needed to be said. I’m very happy with what he said  tonight.”

But she was not as impressed by the NDP leader, although enough to say he was not far behind Trudeau in terms of his speaking abilities. The Bloc leader’s decision to appear in a televised political debate unshaven left her with an overall negative impression.

Elie Awad believed Prime Minister Trudeau dominated the evening. “He seemed very comfortable,” he said, while agreeing that Conservative leader Scheer seemed quite ill at ease at times. As for the NDP’s Singh, Awad was indifferent, but added, “Good luck to him.”

Impressed by PM, said El-Khoury

The last word went to the Laval-Les Îles Liberal candidate himself. “Our Prime Minister seemed comfortable, and that is also how I feel,” said El-Khoury. “He was in control of the situation. He was fluent in both languages. And I believe that any Prime Minister in Canada should be able to speak both languages perfectly. For this reason, I am very proud of Mr. Trudeau.

“He tackled all the issues,” he continued. “Our economy is doing well. Our middle-class is also doing well. The Canada Child Benefit has lifted more than 300,000 out of poverty. The Liberal Party also has a very good plan to protect our environment, and we are taking care of our seniors with a guaranteed supplement and now we are adding 15 per cent for those whose age is more than 75. I believe Canadians on Oct. 21 will make a choice to move forward for a better life for a better future and for new generations to come.”