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Dodging debates not a new Trudeau strategy

5 16 0

After too many smoky hours, Bill Fox, the Tory debate negotiation leader, and I looked at each other. It was a shared, painful moment of epiphany.

Fox leaned over and said quietly, “We’re being played…!”

In the corridor a few minutes later, we both rued how long it had taken for the penny to drop. We were at the fourth or fifth round of the 1980 debate negotiations with the Great Rainmaker, Keith Davey. He let slip a small sardonic smile as he rushed past. The Tory and New Democrat debate teams, asked ourselves ruefully, “How could we have been so dumb!”

Davey had expertly drawn out the negotiations, fretting over staging colours, light levels, podium heights and other trivia, all the while declaiming, “Of course we want to debate!”

When we hapless victims complained loudly about the Liberals’ debate skulduggery, the reaction from the chattering classes was suitably outraged at Trudeau’s “attack on democracy” but from most other Canadians it ranged from, “More fool you!” to “So what?!”

It was the fateful winter election where Pierre Trudeau crushed the........

© Toronto Star