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On Monday night, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau squared off in a nationally televised discussion of foreign policy, hosted by The Munk Debates, in partnership with Facebook Canada. The Globe is an official media partner of The Munk Debates.

Watch the key debate moments




Who won the debate? Depends who you ask



Opening question to Mr. Mulcair: If the threat Islamic State represent doesn't justify a military response, when would an NDP government justify military force?

Mr. Mulcair: Says an NDP government won't "shy away" from involvement in global conflict under the aegis of the United Nations, but that Canada should not be involved in the current Islamic State combat mission, which involves only a handful of countries. He stresses that Canada could do more to address the Syrian refugee crisis precipitated by Islamic State's advance. Under further questioning, he says Canada could help combat Islamic State by signing an arms-trade treaty, helping to stop the flow of money to Islamic State and enforcing a deradicalization program here in Canada.

Mr. Harper: Denounces Islamic State as a group that aims to "slaughter" hundreds of thousands of refugees, calls them a threat to Canada and says combating them is in Canada's best interest. "We have a very clear reason for being there" in Iraq and Syria, he says.

Mr. Trudeau: Says all parties agree that intervening in the Middle East is a long-term commitment, but says the Liberals should be a "strong partner" in the anti-Islamic State coalition, but that he disagrees with how the Conservatives are handling that involvement, focusing instead on training infantry troops on the ground and humanitarian support for refugees. "Sending in Western troops isn't always the best possible outcome," he said. He stresses that Canada needs to do more to engage in peacekeeping missions, stressing several times that peacekeeping began as a Canadian initiative.



Opening question to Mr. Harper: How does your latest change in policy reflect an accurate response to the refugee crisis?

Mr. Harper: Points out recently announced plans to fast-track refugee applications and processing, balanced against the need for security screening to make sure only "genuine" refugees are admitted. "This is a responsible approach," he says, stressing the word "responsible" multiple other times in his response. "… We haven't opened the floodgates."

Mr. Trudeau: Says it's Canada's responsibility to help refugees to settle here, and that other conflicts and climate change will only make future refugee crises worse. Touts Liberals' proposal to resettle and welcome refugees and help Europe and Syria's neighbours to better handle the crisis. Brings up past examples of Canada welcoming waves of refugees, such as the Vietnamese refugees of 1979-80 and Irish immigrants fleeing the 19th-century potato famine, and says Canada should focus more on saving lives than turning them away over security concerns.

Mr. Mulcair: Cites the Komogata Maru and MV Sun Sea incidents as an example of Canada getting it wrong on refugee crises, at great humanitarian cost, and criticizes Mr. Harper for stressing security anxieties too highly. "No more excuses," Mr. Mulcair says.


Opening question to Mr. Trudeau: Why did you vote for Bill C-51 if you didn't like it?

Mr. Trudeau: Criticizes Mr. Mulcair for having variable positions on the anti-terrorism bill, and Mr. Harper for not doing enough to protect Canadians' civil liberties. Says Liberals would craft legislation that strikes the right balance between civil rights and safety, and accuses Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Harper of playing the "politics of fear."

Mr. Mulcair: Says the NDP knew C-51 was "wrong," comparing it to the NDP's stand against the War Measures Act used by Mr. Trudeau's father, Pierre Trudeau, in the 1970 October Crisis. Mr. Trudeau says he is "incredibly proud" to be Pierre Trudeau's son, and that his legacy of enacting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is also something to be proud of. Mr. Trudeau also pointed out that this was the 15th anniversary of his father's death, and that "he wouldn't want us to be fighting the battles of the past, he'd want us to be squarely focused on the future."

Trudeau defends legacy of his father during Munk Debate


Mr. Harper: Says the real threat to Canadians "isn't CSIS, it's ISIS," and that "there is no reason why" Canada wouldn't revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted of terrorism offences. This led to a heated exchange between Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau over citizenship rights: "A Canadian is a Canadian," Mr. Trudeau says.

Harper, Trudeau spar over right to revoke citizenship



Opening question to Mr. Mulcair: Why should we spend billions more on foreign aid when we have more urgent problems?

Mr. Mulcair: Says that doing more to help others in need is a "Canadian value," adding that Canada's foreign-aid spending is "lamentable."

Open debate: Mr. Trudeau congratulates Mr. Harper for the Conservative government's maternal health initiative, but points out that unsafe abortions are a deadly global problem and accuses Mr. Harper of being a "prisoner of ideology" in combating this, a position echoed by Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Harper replies that the Conservative government is proud of its work on maternal health.


Opening question to Mr. Harper: What will you do to reassert Canada's interests in the North?

Mr. Harper: Touts construction of a deepwater port, expansion of the Canadian Rangers and other initiatives in northern trade and security, and the devolution agreement with the Northwest Territories.

Open debate: Mr. Trudeau calls Mr. Harper's Arctic appearances mere photo ops, and says northerners believe Mr. Harper is delivering on what he promises: "big sled, no dogs." Says Canada should invest in scientific research in the North. Mr. Mulcair says Mr. Harper's government hasn't shown enough support for northerners and that Canada should do more to combat climate change, an issue affecting northerners' everyday lives.


Opening question to Mr. Trudeau: If you become prime minister, how will you deal with Vladimir Putin?

Mr. Trudeau: Says the Russian President is destabilizing Eastern Europe with Russia's involvement in Ukraine. Says Canada has "such a diminished voice on the world stage" that Mr. Putin hasn't listened to Mr. Harper's tough talk.

Open debate: Mr. Harper reasserts his position that Russian intervention in Ukraine is unacceptable. Mr. Mulcair says Mr. Trudeau "can't even stand up to Mr. Harper on C-51," and is ill-equipped to take a strong stand against Mr. Putin. Mr. Mulcair also alleges Mr. Harper has avoided putting "two of his closest buddies" on the sanctions list.


Opening question to Mr. Harper: What does the failure to convince Barack Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline say about Canada-U.S. relations going forward?

Mr. Harper: Says the Conservative government has worked "productively" with the Bush and Obama administrations on foreign-policy and trade issues. "Canada has a good relationship with the United States," but "the responsibility of the prime minister of Canada is to stand up for Canada's interests." He says Keystone will be adopted "eventually" and that the oil and gas industry wants Keystone to happen.

Mr. Mulcair: Says the Keystone pipeline wasn't in Canada's interests to begin with because it would export Canadian jobs to the United States, and that Mr. Harper's approach has united progressive voters on both sides of the border against Keystone XL. He also singled out Mr. Trudeau's support for Keystone.

Mr. Trudeau: Says that maintaining Canada-U.S. relations is a key job of the prime minister's, and that Mr. Harper has "narrowed the entire relationship with the United States around a single point, the Keystone XL pipeline … That is not the kind of relationship we need." Mr. Harper replied that Canada has a "great relationship" with the United States, a remark that drew laughter from the audience.


Opening question for Mr. Trudeau: Why should Canadians believe that a Liberal government would meet its international commitments on climate change?

Mr. Trudeau: Says environmental and economic issues are intertwined and addressing climate change is clear to Canada's future prosperity, stressing that investing "massively" in public transit and green infrastructure will help Canada lighten its carbon footprint. Says Ottawa should help the provinces send a clear message that "Canada is on the right track," and that Canada should have an attainable emissions-reduction plan with the United States and Mexico.

Mr. Harper: Says Canada has had economic growth along with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (reductions that are largely attributed to the recession) and that he's "very optimistic" that a climate-change accord in Paris is attainable. He claims several times that the Liberal government has a worse record than the Conservatives on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. Mulcair: Says Mr. Harper is right to criticize the Liberals' track record on climate change, and says Quebec cut emissions on his watch as provincial environment minister. Says an NDP government would deliver results with a cap-and-trade system.


Opening question for Mr. Mulcair: Would Canada be locked out of global auto markets by an NDP-led government's position on Canada's supply management system?

Mr. Mulcair: Says Canada has to protect is supply management practices for the dairy sector and other industries, and that Canada is losing manufacturing jobs under Mr. Harper's watch.

Mr. Trudeau: He says Mr. Harper has shown a lack of transparency on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal and has gone back on his word on international trade agreements. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper get into an exchange about their respective parties' support for trade deals. Mr. Trudeau repeats a claim he made at the Globe's debate at the economy that Mr. Mulcair had once supported bulk water exports to the United States, a claim Mr. Mulcair again denied: "Mr. Trudeau is inventing facts once again."

Trudeau, Mulcair trade barbs over free trade and bulk water exports

Mr. Harper: Says Canada will "only sign a deal if it is in the interest of the Canadian economy," and touts the Conservative government's record on trade deals.


Follow The Globe's political coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and see how Monday night's Twitter conversation unfolded under the hashtag #MunkDebate. If you heard something during the debate that you want us to fact-check, tweet #AskTheGlobe to get an answer.


Harper's world: The past and future of Canada's foreign policy

Drawing on his many years as a Globe and Mail correspondent, Mark MacKinnon dissects how the Harper-era shift in Canada's foreign policy has reshaped Canada's role and reputation on the world stage. Gloria Galloway also examines how the opposition leaders propose to change that.

'There is now humility and sober-mindedness about what outsiders can do'

Janice Gross Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, takes a look at the future of global affairs ahead of Monday's debate.

Leaked internal report warns of Canada's declining world influence

Canada's international clout is "under threat" as its honest-broker role is replaced with a more assertive stand that plays down traditional multilateralism, an internal Foreign Affairs briefing document is warning senior federal government insiders. Steven Chase and Shawn McCarthy report.

Reviving Canada-U.S. relations no easy task

Campbell Clark: As party leaders prepare for Monday night's debate, there's been little focus on relations with the United States, still our dominant trading partner, our biggest security partner, the only country Canada borders and the biggest power in the world.


No. The Munk organizers chose to invite leaders whose parties have official status in the House of Commons, which is also why Green Leader Elizabeth May did not appear at The Globe and Mail's debate on the economy earlier this month. ( Read more here about The Globe's decision regarding its debate.)

During tonight's debate, Ms. May was posting prerecorded video messages about her party's foreign-policy positions on Twitter.


The Oct. 19 election is only weeks away now. Here are some resources The Globe has prepared to help you understand the race and what the polls are saying about who's ahead.