Election rivals prep for crucial televised showdown
Published Monday, September 26, 2011 4:26PM EDT
Ontario party leaders had quieter schedules on Monday as they prepared for the next day's key televised debate, an event that may represent the election's tipping point.
Premier Dalton McGuinty had a single speech planned in Toronto, while NDP leader Andrea Horwath had no scheduled events. PC leader Tim Hudak will round out his subdued day at an auto collision centre in the late afternoon.
- Watch the Ontario Leaders Debate live on CTV, CTVToronto.ca and CTVNews.ca on Tuesday, Sept. 27 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET
The campaign slowdown comes just a day before the much-anticipated televised election debate, an opportunity for all major party candidates to square off in the same room.
Henry Jacek, professor of political science at McMaster University, said the closer the debate is to the election date, the more impact it can have.
"Whoever has momentum in the days coming out of this debate, it's going to be hard for the others to turn it around -- they just don't have the time," he told The Canadian Press.
With an Oct. 6 election on the horizon, there's little room for gaffes.
Early polls continue to show the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives in minority government territory, meaning the New Democratic Party may become election kingmakers.
Tuesday's leadership debate puts additional pressure on Horwath. It'll be the NDP leader's first time participating in the event.
She'll be joined by PC leader Hudak, who is also participating in the event for the first time. Premier McGuinty, on the other hand, has four previous debates under his belt which may be an asset.
McGuinty refused to participate in a leaders debate in Thunder Bay, Ont., last week. Hudak and Horwath went ahead without him.
Horwath had also proposed a series of at least three debates, but neither she nor Hudak were prepared to have one in French with the bilingual McGuinty.
- Watch live election coverage on Thursday, Oct. 6 on CTV, CTVNews.ca and CTV News Channel starting at 9 p.m. ET
With files from The Canadian Press