The first leaders’ debate of the BC election makes clear what the tone of the campaign is: heated.
Christy Clark: “Calm down John.”
John Horgan: “Don’t touch me again, please.”
That acidic exchange was par for the course as BC Liberal leader Christy Clark and BC NDP leader John Horgan duked it out, interrupting and talking over each other about everything from housing affordability and the economy to the opioid crisis and tolls.
But for all the sound and fury, no one landed a knockout punch.
LISTEN: CKNW Assistant News Director Charmaine de Silva breaks down the leaders’ debate
As she has on the campaign trail, Clark hammered away at the Liberals central campaign theme of job creation and a strong economy.
She also attacked Horgan over the cost of his platform, repeating her party’s new line of attack that the NDP is papering over a $6-billion hole and repeatedly bringing up the NDP government of the 1990s.
That had the NDP leader accusing Clark of using “alternative facts,” quipping “Where is Sean Spicer?”
Horgan, for his part, attacked Clark with claims B.C. had grown unaffordable under her watch with the cost of housing, MSP, Hydro and insurance all rising.
BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, in contrast, for the most part stayed out of the fray of crosstalk, waiting for moderator Bill Good to call on him.
It’s a strategy reminiscent of the one that brought former BC Liberal leader Gordon Wilson success back in 1991, when Social Credit leader Rita Johnson duked it out with BC NDP leader Mike Harcourt.
But Weaver did get some shots in, accusing Clark of abdicating her responsibility on transit by holding the ill-fated referendum he characterized as a ballot on TransLink’s management, not transportation.
He also slammed Liberal policies he says have resulted in first-time homebuyers out of the market in many areas of the province.
The debate, aired online, is the first time the three leaders have sat around the same table this election.
The only debate to be broadcast on the radio and on television will be held April 26th, here on CKNW and Global.