The votes are in: Andrew Scheer won the debate, readers say

After a night of debating, Canada’s federal party leaders are now seeing the support, and criticism, from Canadians who watched the English-language event on Monday.

Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, Maxime Bernier and Yves-Francois Blanchet were all in attendance, hoping to sway Canadians to support their particular party on Oct. 21.

Ahead of the debate, the Liberal and Conservative parties had been battling for the top spot in the polls, with the NDP and Green Party distantly behind.


Canadians evaluate

Throughout the night, Yahoo Canada asked readers who they believe was performing the best in the debate. At the time of publishing, 48 per cent of respondents said Scheer was the best while 26 per cent said it was Trudeau, followed by Singh with 13 per cent of the votes.

“It was obvious as the debate continued that both Trudeau and Sheer were NOT the kind of leaders that Canada needs now. Although [Jagmeet] Singh was eloquent....again that's not enough to lead Canada during the next few years. Elizabeth May made the most intelligent answers and was the most factual in her debating. She consistently refrained from 'mud slinging' or 'rhetoric' and was entirely believable, honest and capable in her comments, [questions] and answers,” one commenter wrote.

“Andrew Scheer was the clear winner. Only the Liberals or the Conservatives will form the next government and Mr. Scheer owned Mr. Trudeau,” a Yahoo Canada reader wrote.

“Jagmeet won the debate, but has no chance of winning. Scheer sounds weak...All he did was attack Trudeau and no talk of policy or what he would do as PM,” another wrote.

The Conservative Party was quick to claim victory after the debate, while in a release, the Liberal Party circulated quotes from journalists who believe Trudeau came out on top (and Scheer underperformed).

“The most-passionate version of Trudeau emerged in the night's final segment, on the environment and energy. There, again, Trudeau invoked the choice he wants voters to see, between Conservatives who would rip up the current plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Liberals who are pledged to keep going.” - Aaron Wherry, CBC News

“The loser in all this was Andrew Scheer. The Conservative leader needed to have a big night, after a week in which his reputation was pounded by his opponents for the alleged lack of transparency on his resumé, his views on issues of conscience and his nationality (…) If the Tories lose this election, putting a price on carbon is an issue they will have to revisit or risk being left looking like a BlackBerry in an iPhone world.” - John Ivison, National Post

The NDP also believe Singh won Monday night’s debate, circulating their own list of quotes from reporters who praised his performance.

“Jagmeet had some of the best lines of the night. He had the lines that are going to play with the average Canadians. They were short, they were snappy, they speak to Canadians.” - Mercedes Stephenson, Global News

“Singh says JT and AS are talking about who’d be worst for Canada. We ought to focus on who’s better. Singh is having a great night. Clear. Values talk. Broad at times, specific at others. A real human. Sweet suit. On message.” - David Moscrop, Washington Post

Canadians also took to social media to share who they thoughts on who performed the best throughout the night:

Notable moments of the night

The evening got off to quite a heated start, with the Conservative leader bringing up Trudeau’s brownface scandal in his first response of the night, saying the Liberal leader is a “phony and a fraud” and should not be prime minister.

Bernier, the People’s Party of Canada leader, was the last party leader to be invited to the debate and throughout the night, his opponents made it clear that they do not believe he should be prime minister. This is particularly due to his controversial views on immigration and climate change.

“You can be proud of our identity...while still welcoming people from all around the world,” Scheer said. “That is something that has made Canada strong...You can do that without insulting people.”

“Somebody invoking the truth should not be someone denying climate change,” Blanchet added.

Quebec’s religious symbols ban, Bill 21, was also a hot topic of discussion at the debate, with Singh asked if he would “stand back” and allow Quebec to “discriminate against its citizens.”

The NDP leader said he does not support Bill 21 but will not intervene in the court proceedings. He added that if he is elected on Oct. 21 and the law made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, “of course, the prime minister will look into it.”

“Quebec does not need to be told what to do or what not to do about its own values, not its language, nor itself as a nation,” the Bloc Quebecois leader said in response to the debate about the religious symbols ban.

Who do you think won Monday night’s debate? Vote in the poll above and follow our Federal Election Candidate Tracker for the latest on all the leaders and their policies.