B.C. political leaders battle for votes in only televised election debate


WATCH: The provincial campaign is now in the home stretch and the only televised leaders debate is history.

Last night the three leaders clashed on housing, the economy and leadership.

As Mary Griffin reports, today political pundits are weighing in on who came out on top.

“Welcome to the BC Leaders’ debate, 2017.”

And that kicked off the only televised debate during the campaign.

“Four more years of government that’s working for people at the top.

Or a government that’s working for you.”

“Where ever I’ve gone, British Columbians have said the same thing.

They are desperate for a new vision of this province.”

“Which leader has the skills to lead us in a time of uncertainty.”

Dr. David Black from Royal Roads University says debates matter.

“Do these debates make a difference?”

“They really do.

They really do.

People really want to know the leader.

They really identify with the leader.

They want to be able to trust this person with, with decisions that might affect their children, their liveihoods, the quality of life in B.C.”

With so much at risk, each leader carves out their positions.

Horgan hammered Clark on education.

“And you stole a generation of kids because of your bull-headedness on public education.”

“Well I don’t know what’s wrong with number one?”

“For you to stand here now and say you care about kids, is almost unbelievable.”

Sidelined during last week’s radio debate, this time Weaver held his own with Clark.

“The United Nations, Mr. Dr. Horgan recognized us, not the LA Times has recognized us.”

“The United Nations has recognized Mr. Campbell’s efforts.  And frankly it’s a bit rich for you to tell me what the United Nations organized, as I served on the U.N. Panel on climate change not one, not two, not three but four times over the years.”

And Horgan tangled with Weaver.

“Your decisions are putting your big labour interests first and foremost.

“Not at all.

Not at all.

We focus everyday on making life better for British Columbians.”

Black says in the light of day, Weaver won the debate.  “I think the clear winner here was Andrew Weaver, leader of the Green Party.”

“There was low expectations of his performance,” says UVic political scientist Dr. Michael Prince. “He’s a rookie among the three of them. He’s not a professional politician.

We saw a guy who’s become very comfortable in learning the art of politics.”

It’s an upbeat mood at Green Party headquarters today, according to Weaver.

“Based on last night, we think we can sweep Vancouver Island, and claim every seat on Vancouver Island.”

The other two leaders continued their campaigning in the Lower Mainland.

NDP leader John Horgan says he’ll continue with his message of change.

“There are 12 days left, and my campaign has been from the beginning and it will be at the end about people.”

And BC Liberal leader Christy Clark continues to focus on the economy.

Who do British Columbians believe will do the best job of protecting and creating jobs for people in our province.  That’s the question for May 9th.”

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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