Waterloo professor sees no clear winner in Monday's leaders debate

A local political science professor says there was no clear winner in Monday night’s Ontario leaders’ debate.

According to Andre Perrella, a Wilfrid Laurier University professor, televised debates have long become more about political pageantry than a substantive exchange of ideas.

Perrella said the leaders look to play it safe and stick to their talking points, instead of engaging on the pressing issues of the day.

As for impacting voter intentions, Perrella doesn't believe this debate will really register with most electors, and feels any impact it has is likely to be minimal and short-lived.

“They've already decided who's going to win. So, Conservatives think Doug Ford did great, Liberals think Del Duca did great, and so on and so forth,” Perrella said.

According to Perrella, Doug Ford needed to not lose Monday’s debate, and Perrella believes he mostly succeeded.

He said Andrea Horwath performed as a candidate leading a party perennially in opposition.

As for Steven Del Duca, Perrella said he was able to raise his profile in the debate, but it was Green Party Leader and Guelph candidate Mike Schreiner who impressed him the most.

“Mike Schreiner, I think did the best. He was calm, but assertive. Combative, but not hostile. Intelligent, but not abstract, so I think Mike Schreiner did the best of all,” Perrella said.