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Why debates matter

Debates play an essential role in Canada’s democracy. They give you a chance to see the character, temperament, and unscripted approaches of leaders seeking to be Canada’s Prime Minister.

Making an informed decision is part of a thriving democracy. But it’s difficult to make an informed decision; people are busy, and it’s hard to know what information to trust. A live debate is a trusted source of information, because it’s one of the very few times during an election campaign that you can hear directly from leaders – unedited and unfiltered.

You’ll see leaders together in one place, live on stage, answering questions and challenging each other’s ideas and opinions. This will help you make your own decision about the issues that matter to you. It is also an opportunity to learn about issues that matter to other Canadians, and be exposed to views that are different from your own, and those around you. It’s a window into the world of others.

A debate is something we can participate in together. It would be easy to see the things the separate us as Canadians; we are spread apart across a huge land mass; we live in different places; we speak different languages, we come from different backgrounds and yes, we care about different things. But this is an opportunity for the country to come together: to watch or listen to the same thing, at the same time, to gain an understanding about the issues at hand, what they mean to people across the country.

It’s a chance to learn about each other, and the people who want to lead our country.

Debates Around the World

In parliamentary democracies such as Canada, where voters do not directly elect the Prime Minister, election debates serve as an occasion for party leaders to increase their party’s chance at electoral success. In presidential democracies, such as the United States, election debates serve as an opportunity for candidates to argue that they deserve voters’ support. In both cases debates are an important part of electoral campaigns.

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How to Watch Critically

Watching a debate is part of making an informed decision on Election Day.

But how do you know what to listen for, how to watch critically, and what you should be paying attention to?

Here are some tips on how to watch critically.

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Date modified: September 16, 2019