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The B.C. election leaders’ debate: Welcome to Cringe-Fest 2017

Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 88.1 FM and 690 AM in Vancouver.

So, be honest. If you had a choice between sitting through – in its entirety – a B.C. election leaders' debate or say, staple-gunning your face to the coffee table, which would you choose?

I know. I'm there too. I mean, how much could a staple gun really hurt?

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But such was the first "official" debate of B.C. Election 2017.

If you missed it, here's a recap of sorts.

Moderator: Welcome to Cringe-Fest 2017. We drew blood to determine the order in which candidates will speak. John Horgan bled faster than anyone else and so we begin with him. You have 60 seconds.

Horgan: Thank you. And may I just say, ouch. Thank you for having us. The people of British Columbia are ready for a change. Sixteen years of this BC Liberal government has been enough. When you look at everything that's going on around you, raw log exports, rural communities …

Moderator: Thank you …

Horgan: I still have 40 seconds …

Moderator: Not by my count. Now to you Premier. I mean Christy. I mean Ms. Clark.

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Clark: Thank you. If the NDP gets its way, every child in B.C. will end up living in Soviet-era, government-owned housing blocks, working in sweatshops and eating rats. The NDP will bankrupt this province with their crazy, reckless schemes. Remember the 1990s? I bet you're surprised at how quickly I pulled that one out, huh? I remember the nineties. The dust bowl, the failed crops, broken-spirited men riding the rails and waiting in soup lines. That's what the NDP wants for your children.

Horgan: Uh, that was the thirties.

Clark: Oh, you'd love people to believe that, wouldn't you?

Moderator: Thanks Christy. Mr. Weaver?

Andrew Weaver: Everything I say today will be sensible and have a ring of truth. I'm going to talk about why killing the planet is probably a really bad idea. You won't listen because I have zero chance of forming a government. But I will make you feel guilty. Thank you.

Moderator: Let's talk about housing. Mr. Horgan …

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Horgan: An NDP government will give people cheques to help pay the rent. It will be a small, almost insignificant amount of money, but we're hoping it's enough to get some votes.

Clark: Let's be clear: Renters are losers. If you're not on your way to owning a home in this great province of ours, then there's something really wrong with you. You're not working hard enough. You're embarrassing your children, and your children's children. A Liberal government will let you drive Uber so you can eventually reach that dream of owning a 600-square-foot condo in Langley.

Weaver: We'll build more affordable housing by taxing rich people and aggressively going after foreign buyers. Also, we have a pilot project looking at communal yurts on former gas-station sites. I know, it's a bit of a cliché, but that's how we roll.

Moderator: Let's move on to another topic …

Weaver: Before we do, can I just say child poverty, homelessness, the fentanyl crisis, children dying in government care, conditions on first-nations reserves, food banks …

Clark: Ugh! You are so depressing … hashtag bright future.

Moderator: Agreed. Let's talk tolls. Mr. Horgan, how will you pay for your promise to end tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges?

Horgan: By raiding the fake LNG fund and taking the money that came from all B.C. taxpayers and giving it to people in ridings where we stand a chance of winning. That'll cover the first three years. After that, I'll pin it all on the local mayors like Ms. Clark here and force them into raising property taxes again. I can't wait to …

Clark: Calm down John.

Horgan: Don't touch me again.

Clark: I'm not touching you. See, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you...

Horgan: You're holding your finger an inch away from my face!

Clark: Yes, but I'm not touching you. No touching …

Weaver: This reminds me of the legislature and this is a classic example of why nothing ever gets done in the province of British Columbia. Right here, you saw it.

Clark: Hey, that's Gordon Wilson's line … from 1991. Boom! Gotchya! Both of you are trying to drag us back into the nineties! I'm done here. Call Laura and tell her to tweet out that I killed it!

Moderator: Thank you for watching Cringe-Fest 2017. We hope this debate was, uh, illuminating.

Video: NDP, Liberals trade barbs as B.C. election gets underway (The Canadian Press)
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