‘Think about platforms’: Halifax PhD students chime in ahead of election debate

Halifax PhD students share their thoughts heading into the English-language federal leaders debate
WATCH: Two PhD students say they’ll be looking for less political nitpicking and more of a focus on party platforms and policies when they watch the English-language debate Monday night.

With the English-language leaders’ debate set to take place in Gatineau, Que., two PhD students in Halifax are hoping the focus will be on party platforms and policies, not political sparring among the leaders.

“Personally, I’ll be looking to see if any of the leaders can kind of transcend this kind of morass of crosstalk that typifies this kind of debate, said Tari Ajadi, a political science PhD student at Dalhousie University.

“I’d be curious to see whether any of them can actually meaningfully articulate a reason why people should vote for them, as a opposed to why they shouldn’t vote for the other people.”

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2019 federal leaders’ debates

When it comes to highlighting individual party goals, sociology PhD student Emma Kay says she feels many of the discussions have been lost with leaders focusing on feuding with each other, instead of presenting viable voting options to Canadians that will impact meaningful change on themes like climate change.

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“I want to know what they’re going to do with our votes.”

“What are the policies they’re going to put in place? What kind of funding are they going to create for organizations? And I’m less interested in them nitpicking each other as individuals and more so talking about their party platforms,” Kay said.

READ MORE: Global presents federal leaders’ debate bingo

Both Kay and Ajadi feel there is a sense of dejection among voters heading into this federal election.

“Leading up to the election, to be honest, I’ve been a little depressed. It’s a very cynical, very narrow sense of politics that I don’t think really resonates with a majority of Canadians,” Ajadi said.

“What I’m seeing a lot of my peers saying is that they’re disheartened and that we’re almost in a two-party system,” Kay said. “There are more than two parties.”

READ MORE: ‘Stakes could not be higher’: Tories, Liberals tied ahead of leaders’ debate, Ipsos poll finds

Both Kay and Ajadi encourage people to view the democratic process as an opportunity to make an informed decision that will help guide the political direction Canada moves toward.

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“Think about platforms, not people. Look at the platform, look at what they’re offering and be mindful that we are not a two-party system,” Kay said.

“Vote based on your riding, vote based on party proposals, policy proposals and do the research. Sit down, read, figure it out,” Ajadi said.

What are Canadians googling ahead of the federal election?
What are Canadians googling ahead of the federal election?

The debate gives Canadians a chance to hear from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green party Leader Elizabeth MayBloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.

Below: A real-time tally of the total usage of the official #CanadaDebates2019 hashtag

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— With files from Jane Gerster