Why would he miss an opportunity to face off against his opponents onTV?
Because the theory is in order towin the election, the Liberals have to take Quebec. Trudeau is also aMontrealer who speaks perfect French (not the case with some of hiscompetitors). “It’s his home court,” Mills says.
They tend to get more and moreimportant as the election gets closer. “Most Canadians aren’t sitting down withpopcorn to watch every debate, but they are seeing the headlines, which tend todrive the news cycle for at least a couple of days,” says Alvaro. Timing, shesays, is key, since voters probably won’t be talking about this debate by theend of the weekend, never mind by election day. The debates that Trudeau hascommitted to are further down the road. “Those are right before Thanksgivingwhere everyone sits down with their families and discusses the election.Performances in those debates are going to be a lot more significant,” saysAlvaro.
Sure! The visual representation ofthe PM’s absence at Thursday’s debate provided a notable talking point (and a photoop for Elizabeth May, whose “lookat me shaking the hand of an absent PM” snap was the night’s most memorablemoment). “Debates may not stick in people’s minds, but images do,” says Mills.“That photo is worth a thousand words.” (Needless to say, none of those wordsare pro-Trudeau.) But Alvaro says the empty podium had an unexpected andopposite effect. “I think when you look at how a lot of Canadians responded tothe debate, there is this sense that something was missing,” she says. “I thinkit made people wish that Trudeau was there. He has a presence and a charismathat the other candidates don’t have.”