MJPSatire has recently gained exclusive access to the full transcript of the Federal Leaders’ Debate, which has yet to air on TV. The debate took place on…it doesn’t matter, the debate was moderated by Rosebary Marton of the Canadian Broadcasters Corporation and featured the leaders of all five major federal parties. On a side note, MJPSatire has received reports that the Canadian Food Inspection Inspection Agency has ordered all the snacks on the dessert stand backstage of the debate to be recalled due to a potential health risk. Apparently, the genetically modified cheesecake could potentially induce what healthcare professionals call: “an enlargement of the Broca’s area, leading to an unnatural articulation of speech and logic.” It is unknown whether any of the candidates consumed this dangerous cheesecake before going onto the debate stage.

Official Transcript of the 2019 Federal Leadership Debate

Rosebary Marton: Good evening to you all. In just a few moments, Canadians from all across the country will have the opportunity to see the leaders of all five major federal parties go head to head in the official federal leaders’ debate of the 2019 campaign. The candidates will be asked questions by me, your moderator, as well as ones which have been submitted to us by Canadians all across the country. Standing in front of us are the leaders of the five major parties: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier. 

Rosebary Marton: We now begin with our first question of the night, which comes from a viewer writing from…Yekaterinburg, Russia!…err, wait a minute, I have to talk with my producers…we’ll be right back from Debate Night 2019!…Ok, turn it off, turn it off!…

*Hushed voices*

Rosebary Marton: …Is he…I don’t know…maybe he’s…a bot?…Yeah, I’m not sure either…Ok, ok, got it…

Rosebary Marton: We are back with the 2019 Federal Leaders’ Debate! Apologies, we were experiencing some *cough* technical difficulties. We now have a written question from a Canadian viewer in Calgary, Alberta, directed at Mr. Trudeau. The question is: was it justified to pressure your attorney general to settle the criminal case with SNC Lavalin?

Trudeau: It may not have been justified, but I, Trudeau of Ottawa, say that it is much more preferable to commit injustice than it is to suffer injustice.

Singh: I, Singh of Scarborough, would wish neither. But if it were necessary either to do injustice or suffer it, I would choose to suffer it rather than to do it.

Trudeau: Surely you try to state absurdities, Singh!

Singh: And I shall try to make you, Trudeau, state the same thing, for I consider you a friend.

Trudeau: Well, Singh, there’s no need to refute you with events from the distant past. Only the other day things happened sufficient to refute you and prove that many people who do injustice are happy.

Singh: What sort of things?

Trudeau: No doubt you observe this fellow, Fidel Castro son of Àngel Castro, ruler of Cuba?

Singh: If not, at least I hear him.

Trudeau: Well, does the great Dictator seem to you wretched or happy?

Singh: I don’t know Trudeau, for I’ve never met the man. But I say that the beautiful and good men and women are happy, but the unjust and wicked are wretched.

Trudeau: But how could he not be unjust! The country he now holds did not belong to him, but he took it over by instigating a socialist revolution, and has become most remarkably wretched, since he has done the greatest wrongs. Yet, I do not believe there is any person who would prefer to be some other Cuban than Castro.

Scheer: If I might intercede, I, Scheer of Ottawa…

Bernier: Morally corrupt!

Rosebary Marton: Mr. Bernier, we ask that candidates please refrain from interrupting each other. Now, Mister…Scheer of Ottawa, your response to Mr. Trudeau of Ottawa?…I wonder why they’re talking like this…oh wait, you weren’t supposed to hear that haha!…okay, let’s just move on…

Scheer: I, Scheer of Ottawa have one point in dispute with Trudeau of Ottawa. If Castro the unjust man is not punished, according to your account, he will be happy?

Trudeau: Yes.

Scheer: Which of the two, doing injustice or suffering it, is more ugly? Please answer.

Trudeau: Doing it.

Scheer: If more ugly then also more evil?

Trudeau: Not at all.

Scheer: By Zeus, when of two beautiful things, one is more beautiful, it will be more beautiful because it surpasses the other in one or both of two things, either in pleasure or in benefit, or both.

Trudeau: Certainly.

Scheer: When of two ugly things, one is more ugly, it will be more ugly because it surpasses either in pain or in evil. Or is this not necessary?

Trudeau: Yes it is.

Scheer: Now if doing injustice is more ugly than suffering it, it is more ugly either because it surpasses it in pain, or in evil, or in both. Or is this not also necessary?

Trudeau: Of course it is.

Scheer: First then let us consider whether doing injustice surpasses suffering it in pain. Are those who do injustice in greater distress than those who suffer injustice?

Trudeau: By no means, Scheer.

Scheer: So therefore it does not exceed in pain.

Trudeau: No indeed.

Scheer: Only the other is left.

Trudeau: Yes.

Scheer: In evil.

Trudeau: It seems so.

Scheer: So doing injustice is more evil than suffering injustice because it surpasses it in evil.

Trudeau: Clearly.

Scheer: Now wasn’t it agreed by most of humankind, and formerly by you, that doing injustice is more ugly than suffering it?

Trudeau: Yes.

Scheer: But now it appeared more evil.

Trudeau: It seems so.

Scheer: Then would you rather accept what is more evil and more ugly in place of what is less so? Don’t shirk from answering, Trudeau, it won’t hurt you. Nobly submit to the argument, as to a doctor, answer Yea or Nay.

Trudeau: Well, I would not accept it Scheer.

Scheer: I spoke the truth, therefore, in saying that neither I nor you nor any other person would choose doing injustice over suffering it, for it is more evil. [1]

Trudeau: You play devious word tricks Scheer, but I acquiesce.

Rosebary Marton: Alright, I was not expecting that. And that…

May: Excuse me! I would like to say som…

Rosebary Marton: And that concludes our first Federal Leaders’ Debate of the 2019 Election! The candidates spoke kind of weirdly, but I hope that Canadians from coast to coast were able to get a glimpse of what each one of them stood for. For now, I wish you all a good evening and…hold on…wait, what? I’m no longer moderating the next debate? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You know what, fine! If you all don’t value my work, I quit! CBC? More like CB – see you later! I’m moving to the U.S., where journalists can actually become millionaires. Bye bye Canada, hello CNN!

End of Transcript


[1] The content and structure of the dialogue was heavily inspired by:

Plato. “The Gorgias.” In The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 1: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Gorgias, Menexenus, 187-316. Yale University Press, 1984. http://www.jstor.org.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/stable/j.ctt1bh4crr.9.

Edited by Sophia Dilworth

This piece is part of the MJPS Satire section. Although potentially based on true events, it is not intended to accurately portray reality. Opinions expressed through this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position of the McGill Journal of Political Studies or the Political Science Students’ Association. 

Featured image by Lauren Hill