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By JANE TABER (@JaneTaber1)
The smart money Monday night at the Munk Debate on foreign policy was on NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair taking down Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Dropping in the national opinion polls after his performance last week during the French-language, the view was he needed to attack Mr. Trudeau to gain back his momentum.
Instead, he just got angry - and a little too personal.
"He doesn't understand debates because he's used to having people write lines for him," Mr. Mulcair said at one point, suggesting Mr. Trudeau was lacking in intellect.
The 2,500-member audience was packed into Roy Thomson Hall in downtown Toronto, and it was just as much part of the debate as were the leaders. The audience groaned at Mr. Mulcair's remark, clearly not appreciating it.
Earlier, the NDP Leader took a swipe at Mr. Trudeau's late father and former prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, for jailing Canadians without allowing them a trial under the War Measures Act during the 1970 October Crisis. (Some "oohs" and "ahhs" from the audience could be heard.)
Mr. Trudeau responded emotionally: "Throughout this campaign both of these gentlemen at various points have attacked my father. Let me say very clearly I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau's son."
He noted, too, it was "15 years ago tonight that he passed away … and I know that he wouldn't want us to be fighting the battles of the past, he'd want us squarely focused on the future …"
The low blows didn't help Mr. Mulcair. By the end of the evening, the smart money had moved to Stephen Harper and Mr. Trudeau and they shared the win.
DAILY TRACKING FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "NDP marginally trails both the Conservatives and Liberals."
> Conservatives: 32.6 per cent (up 1.3 from last week)
> NDP: 27 per cent (down 2.4 from last week)
> Liberals: 31.4 per cent (up 0.9 from last week)
> Green: 4 per cent (down 0.6 from last week)
> Bloc: 4.4 per cent (up 1.0 from last week)
The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> The Munk leaders' debate on foreign policy was last night. Here's what you missed.
> The Trans-Pacific Partnership may be very, very close.
> The Conservatives pledged to support Surrey's light-rail transit, a major investment in B.C.'s second-largest city.
> Are there cracks in Canada's strategy to deal with homegrown terrorism?
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
The Conservatives lose dozens of seats but hold on to 126 of them, giving them the chance to govern as a minority government. The Liberals form a 102-seat Official Opposition, with the NDP not far behind with 92, and the Greens pick up a surprising six seats. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the Conservatives currently have a 55 per cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper appears with Julian Fantino in Vaughan, Ont., for a morning speech. In the evening, he appears with another cabinet minister, Jason Kenney, and the local candidate in Richmond Hill.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is heading north today, with three stops in Iqaluit: at a park, grocery store and school.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has a morning announcement in Winnipeg, then heads to B.C. for an evening event in Richmond.
The Conservatives have made the least-expensive campaign promises to date, but they also have another distinction - they're the only party that hasn't yet completely costed their platform. Bill Curry explains.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"The leaders of Canada's political parties turned a large chunk of Monday's Munk debate on foreign policy into a discourse on Canadian values. Unlike previous debates, this was a case where the veteran incumbent, Mr. Harper, who has steered Canadian foreign policy for the past decade, was at the centre of the argument, beset by two opponents." – Campbell Clark on the Munk debate on foreign policy.
Nathan VanderKlippe (Globe and Mail): "Syria, Ukraine and the U.S. occupied long segments of the debate, the first of its kind. But Canada's second-largest trading partner, a country whose ascending economic and political strength have already made it a significant global centre of power, rated no discussion."
John Ibbitson (Globe and Mail): "Monday's Munk debate on foreign policy ended with an overture to what could be the most important issue of this campaign: whether Canada should be part of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the most ambitious regional trade agreement ever undertaken."
Paul Wells (Maclean's): "Will two hours of peace from the niqab issue stabilize the NDP in Quebec? Will angry Trudeau continue to make gains over doesn't-dare-be-angry Mulcair, and will Harper continue to astonish by building a lead over them both? Beats me."
Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): "Inside Quebec, feminists and progressives are dismayed by the niqab. They see it as an attack on the collective right to be free from oppressive religious symbols. In the rest of Canada, feminists and progressives are enraged at the Conservatives' attack on a woman's right to choose."
Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail): "No guts, no glory, the old saying goes. You gotta takes risks. Sit on a lead in the third period, watch the lead disappear. Same thing in politics, as Thomas Mulcair and the NDP are learning now."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
TVA hosts a French-language leaders' debate in Quebec on Friday.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley meets with the consul general of Canada in New York today, along with bank officials.
The election is in 20 days.
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.
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