On Monday night, the leaders of all of the major political parties in Canada gathered for their final leaders' debate in English. While the debate is expected to draw Canadian viewers well into their tens-of-thousands, the timing of the week-night debate is less-than-ideal for many people around the country.
The debate kicked off at 7 p.m. eastern time at the Canadian Museum of History, which is in Gatineau, Quebec. While the idyllic location overlooking Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River is a pretty nice set-up for the country’s party leaders, the Eastern Time debate is upsetting the Canadians that live a little further west.
While the 7 p.m. Eastern Time kick-off is ideal for many Canadians, for those in Saskatoon, Edmonton and Yellowknife, the debate will start at 5 p.m. local time. Worse still, in Vancouver, Victoria and Whitehorse, it will begin as early as 4.pm, before the end of the work day!
This means that in three provinces and two territories, as well as in parts of Nunavut, people are unlikely to have even managed to get home yet, nevermind had time to get settled in front of the television.
This ‘geographic unfairness’ has been called out by several Canadians on Twitter, who have taken to the social media site to express how they are struggling to watch the debate.
One Canadian wrote, “Ok west coasters stuck at work because well it’s only 4pm .... watch the #leadersdebate2019 here on ya phone."
Another shared a similar message, adding, “Debate about to kick off... Maybe an hour or so too early. Swing voters in BC will have to watch the replay."
Ok west coasters stuck at work because well it’s only 4pm .... watch the #leadersdebate2019 here on ya phone https://t.co/CXYlduVrun— Kelowna Pastoral (@Kelowna Pastoral)1570488751.0
Debate about to kick off... Maybe an hour or so too early. Swing voters in BC will have to watch the replay. #leadersdebate2019— Cohen Fellow (@Cohen Fellow)1570488834.0
ANOTHER POWER PLAY AGAINST WESTERN CANADA.THE LEADERS DEBATE IN ENGLISH STARTS AT 4PM IN BC 5PM INSK AND AB.THE MA… https://t.co/2ajkkrQnqL— Len Sisco (@Len Sisco)1570485416.0
Airing the leaders debate at 4pm pst is incredibly disappointing. Ensures that many British Columbians will not tun… https://t.co/xotcPN1vDI— Alex Shiff (@Alex Shiff)1570459097.0
This has been an issue for many Canadians on the other side of the country since the debate timing was announced.
Last month, one Twitter user asked, “Why would they schedule the English language leaders debate for 4pm PDT when everyone on the west coast is still at work wtf? I'm sure you could push it back like two hours and the people in Toronto can stay up until f*cking 11.”
Another added, "I think it is dumb that the leaders debate can't be watched live by basically everyone in Western Canada. It starts at 5pm in Alberta, and 4pm in BC. Like really? Same applied for the last one. (Not sure about the French one)."
why would they schedule the English language leaders debate for 4pm PDT when everyone on the west coast is still at… https://t.co/0yI6OlP9I5— Rylee (@Rylee)1568150885.0
I think it is dumb that the leaders debate can't be watched live by basically everyone in Western Canada. It starts… https://t.co/jKG7vQbyFr— ⚡️⚡️Rachieve⚡️⚡️ (@⚡️⚡️Rachieve⚡️⚡️)1570484766.0
Leaders' debate starting at 6 CDT, 4 PDT sure sends a message about what part of the country matters, eh? #cdnpoli— Chad Wassing (@Chad Wassing)1570489465.0
@TheRealKeean Don't forget SK and AB we are still at work too!— Dylan (@Dylan)1570489954.0
This was the last opportunity for English-speakers to catch all six of the country's main political party leaders debating with one another. It is also the first official English debate that the Prime Minister has taken part in.
While the debate will be repeated, recorded and easily available to all Canadians across the country, it is surely a blow to people in the west-country that they are not given the same opportunity to watch the debate live at a reasonable hour.