The worst side of Trudeau emerged Thursday night. Time and time again, Trudeau spoke faster, interrupted, heckled his fellow candidates. The Prime Minister, who is seeking a third term as prime minister, faced down the harshest scrutiny.
In short, what happened? He was beset on every side. Trudeau again declined to directly answer why he called an election amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, telling voters they must “make a choice” about which leaders’ plan is best for the future. He was also forced to defend his record on sexual misconduct in the military, when he was asked why he allowed conditions that let incidents continue.
Paul threw at Trudeau that he's “not a real feminist,” mentioning former Liberal MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, causing Trudeau to snap back at the Green leader that he “won’t take lessons on caucus management from you.”
After O’Toole accused Trudeau of failing to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from detention in China, the Liberal leader said taking a more aggressive approach will not yield results.
“You do not simply lob tomatoes across the Pacific,” Trudeau said. “That is what Mr. Harper tried for a number of years, and he didn’t get anywhere.” It appears Harper's still living rent-free in the Prime Minister's head.
Beyond this, O’Toole and Blanchet also accused Trudeau of abandoning Canadians in Afghanistan, arguing further that an election should not have been called as the Taliban’s takeover of the country unfolded.
Singh and Trudeau also had a fiery exchange in which the latter called the NDP’s policy rates an ‘F’ while stating that experts have given the Liberal plan high marks. Singh disagreed, accusing Trudeau of presiding over the worst record on fighting climate change in the G7 during his six years in power.
Other candidates also got into spats. Paul and Blanchet got into a heated exchange over systemic racism, with Paul saying the Bloc leader needed to “get educated” about the subject. When Blanchet fired back claiming she had insulted him, she responded saying “it was an invitation to educate yourself.”
Singh also hammered Trudeau for not including a commitment for universal pharmacare in the costed Liberal platform — something the party had promised in the 2019 election and while in government. “He announces things, and never delivers,” he said. “A prime minister has to deliver on the words.”