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Experts describe federal election campaign as 'nasty', 'ugly', 'bitter'

Last Updated Oct 21, 2019 at 6:50 am MST

File photo: Six federal party leaders are taking part in an English-language debate at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec ahead of the federal election.
Summary

Experts say this years federal election has been a uniquely "nasty"


The political fight has covered topics from blackface, to abortion, to American citizenship, to discrimination


Experts hope lessons can be learned and the next election will be more civil


OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – As the federal election campaign winds down, political scientists and watchers are looking back on the last 40 days and many are calling the race a nasty affair which has left voters disinformed.

“Nasty, ugly, bitter,” are the words Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief, John Geddes, uses to describe this year’s campaign.

“Words like liar and phony being thrown around. People extrapolating widely out of other people’s platform.”

From start to finish the political fight was mired in controversies, from blackface to abortion, to American citizenship to discrimination.

Cheryl Collier, a political scientist at the University of Windsor says she’s concerned with the number of times we saw leaders purposely try to misinform or mislead voters.

“I guess the first words that come to mind is disappointing,” says Collier, when reflecting on the campaign.

“Candidates were a lot more emboldened to outright put falsehoods out there, as opposed to at least trying to engage with what people had actually said.”

Both Collier and Geddes believe important issues and policies were overshadowed by the nastiness, and all of the leaders seemed to fail to inspire voters in a major way.

“I can’t remember a campaign where I’ve heard less discussion of policy and where personal attacks has been so plentiful,” adds Collier.

“Leaders seemed to fall short of the mark when we think about trust issues and actually giving something of a vision for the future that Canadians really wanna get behind.”

They hope lessons can be learned and the next election will be more civil.