Provincial Election Leaders’ Debate: The Drinking Game

Provincial Election Leaders’ Debate: The Drinking Game

Sure, this hasn’t been the most exciting election in recent memory (that honour has to go to last year’s bizarre municipal race). Heck, our public broadcaster has found the whole exercise so dull that it’s chosen to broadcast a hockey game instead of the usual election special on the main network. But tonight at 6:30—we desperately hope—all that will change as Premier Dalton McGuinty, cover boy Tim Hudak and potential king-maker Andrea Horwath go at it for the first time on live television. But if you’re still looking for a spoonful of sugar to help the wonky point-scoring medicine go down, we’ve got you covered. Here, our Leaders’ Debate Drinking Game.

Take a drink when:

  • McGuinty tries to tie Hudak to Ford Nation.
  • Steve Paikin, indefatigable moderator extraordinaire, seems more into the debate than the leaders do.
  • someone invokes the specter of Mike Harris.
  • Hudak invokes his daughter Miller.
  • you feel guilty for feeling critical of Hudak invoking his daughter Miller.
  • anyone mentions the HST—and your eyes glaze over.
  • anyone makes an appeal to “Ontario values,” whatever those might be.
  • Horwath invokes Jack Layton.
  • one of the leaders makes a schlocky attempt to be “hip”—as when Layton said “hashtag fail.”
  • someone makes a legitimately funny joke (this one’s for the teetotalers).
  • Horwath repeats her stiff, talking point–laden performance at the “northern issues” debate.
  • McGuinty or Horwath makes vague noises about preventing a Tory municipal-provincial-federal sweep.
  • someone falls back on time-honoured stalling tactics: “Let me be clear,” “Let there be no mistake,” “My friends,” “My fellow hard-working Ontarians.”
  • all three leaders trip over themselves to avoid uttering the word “Toronto.”
  • a TV talking head reads too much into a candidate’s tone of voice or posture, or identifies a “knockout punch” (these don’t really exist).
  • a TV talking head tentatively declares a winner, before acknowledging that these also don’t really exist.

The winner of the game is anyone who makes it through all 90 minutes of the debate without keeling over. We wish you luck.

(Images: Tim Hudak, Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Andrea Horwath, NDP; Steve Paikin, TVO; Dalton McGuinty, Jennifer K. Warren)