May 8, 2018 9:30 am

Scott Thompson: Ontario leaders’ debate was a circus side show

Scott Thompson says so much effort was placed on a slick presentation, the debate content 'was lost in the sauce.'

Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press
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Did you watch (the first of the three) live televised provincial leadership debates Monday night?

If you answered yes, the next question is, whom do you think won?

READ MORE: Doug Ford targeted by Kathleen Wynne, Andrea Horwath in first major debate before election

I can tell you who lost: City TV.

No one expects anyone to perform beyond their means, but so much effort was placed on a slick presentation, the debate content was lost in the sauce.

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The debate lacked structure and discipline, resulting in candidates bouncing from issue to issue and talking all over each other, soon realizing it was a free for all.

No wonder voters are cynical.

READ MORE: Experts say Ford a bystander in progressive-oriented Ontario debate, Wynne and Horwath both strong

The objective is simple. Ask candidates serious questions that are important to Ontarians, then they answer.

The first rule of media: when everyone is talking, no one is hearing, especially the audience.

Also, get rid of the studio audience. Or if you must, keep them quiet. No one wants to hear who has the most organized cheerleading team, and it just eats up valuable time.

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario party leaders spar in first major debate before the official launch of the election

In the end, Kathleen Wynne looked desperate, Andrea Horwath did well but not enough to convince Ontarians she is more fiscally responsible than the Liberals, and Doug Ford held his own.

Here’s hoping the next debate has more direction and consistency.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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