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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair trade words as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper listens during the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015.

POOL/REUTERS

The Munk debate on foreign affairs was a largely respectful discussion between the leaders of the three largest federal parties. But there were some significant blows landed by each of the participants.

Here is a brief rundown of some of the best moments from Monday night.

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Conservative Leader Stephen Harper outlined his plan to increase the number of refugees from Syria. "These are the numbers we've arrived at," Mr. Harper said. "We're not chasing headlines. We've arrived at it through consulting officials and through proceeding on a program that is by all standards generous."

It took a few minutes for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to get a chance to rebut. But he did it with a sharp jab.

"For the Prime Minister of Canada to say that trying to help the most needy of the Earth, help people fleeing a tragedy on a scale not seen since the Second World War, anybody fighting to take more of them into Canada and to help them is somehow chasing headlines. I find that's disrespectful."

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Mr. Mulcair prompted an emotional retort from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau by saying the NDP was the only party that opposed Mr. Trudeau's late father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in invoking the War Measures Act in 1970. The elder Mr. Trudeau, he said, "put hundreds of Canadians in jail without trial, without even any accusation."

Mr. Trudeau jumped in to say that both Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair had attacked his father directly and indirectly throughout the campaign.

"Let me say, very clearly, I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau's son," he said to the applause from the audience. "When we talk about the legacy that my father leaves behind, first and foremost is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which has defined Canada as a country that stands up for individual rights even against governments that want to take those away …"

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There was a heated exchange over Bill C-51, the controversial anti-terrorism bill that was opposed by the New Democrats but supported by the Liberals.

Mr. Mulcair accused Mr. Trudeau of voting for that bill only because he was afraid Mr. Harper and the Conservatives would turn any opposition against him. And he said the bill was more about "the politics of fear and division than anything to do with security."

That prompted a quick round of zingers from each of the party leaders.

Mr. Trudeau, who acknowledged his party's reservations about the bill, said: "Mr. Harper, we all know, on C-51, wants us to be afraid that there is a terrorist hiding behind every leaf and rock around us and we all need to be afraid to stand, that's why he is there to protect us."

In defending the bill, Mr. Harper said: "This threat we face today is not CSIS. It is ISIS."

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And later, when discussing how they would push back against aggressive actions like those taken in Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Mulcair said to Mr. Trudeau: "You can't even stand up to Stephen Harper on C-51, how are you going to stand up to Putin?"

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When the topic turned to Canada-U.S. relations, Mr. Harper was accused by both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair of having a bad relationship with President Barack Obama.

Mr. Mulcair suggested that Mr. Harper had been belligerent in his insistence that the Americans approve the Keystone XL pipeline, souring negotiations on other issues. "The last thing that you should be doing is saying that it is a complete no-brainer, or you won't take no for an answer …" said Mr. Mulcair. "There's an old saying, Mr. Harper, that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I think you were pouring vinegar by the gallon on the Americans."

Mr. Harper pointed out that Mr. Mulcair's desire to pull Canadian troops out of the mission Syria and Iraq, where they are helping the Americans battle the Islamic State, would not do much for Canada-U.S. relations.

"Imagine, first day of office, that we would have a prime minister who would say to the United States, we are pulling out of the joint military mission against the Islamic State," said Mr. Harper. "And why? 'Because you Mr. Obama are continuing the policies of George W. Bush.' Seriously. If you really want to poison the relationship, that would be the way to do it."

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