Trudeau comes out swinging, but no clear Canada debate winner

Thu Aug 6, 2015 11:33pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, needing a boost to revive his campaign to become Canada's prime minister, came out swinging in an election debate on Thursday, but his opponents delivered their own blows, suggesting there was no clear winner.

Ahead of the debate, most polls showed the ruling Conservatives slightly trailing the official opposition New Democrats ahead of the Oct. 19 election, with the Liberals well behind.

Trudeau, derided by both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair as not being ready to take power, said the Conservatives had failed to manage a sluggish economy suffering from low oil prices.

"Canadians across this country know that times are tough. And the fact is, you have become completely disconnected from the reality that people are facing," Trudeau told Harper.

The Conservatives, in power since 2006, are seeking a rare fourth consecutive mandate.

Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker said Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, had fallen short of making a major breakthrough.

"Trudeau really had to break out. (I) didn't see it. He fought hard though," he said.

The Liberals are competing with the New Democrats for the same center-left segment of the electorate, and Trudeau also took several swings at Mulcair.   Continued...

Canada's Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch