BC party leaders spar in first debate

WATCH: The sparks flew during the first leaders’ debate this morning.

The radio debate was testy at times over the 90 minutes.

With the NDP’s John Horgan and Liberal leader Christy Clark using this first debate as a sparring session.

The radio debate was moderated by broadcaster Bill Good.

“Good morning. And welcome to Your Vote, 2017, the News 1130 leadership debate. I’m Bill Good.”

The leaders’ debate starts out civilly, with the first opening statement from NDP leader John Horgan.

“This is an election, in my view, that’s about choices. Choices about keeping with the status quo of the last 16 years with the BC Liberals that’s made life more difficult for people.

And Liberal leader Christy Clark started with a message to British Columbians.

“And I know how hard people work to look after the people that they love. I want to thank all of them for all the things they do to keep British Columbia strong for our province.”

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver focused on the Liberals record on creating jobs.

“Four years ago, we were told we were going to see 100,000 jobs.”

But the gloves come off quickly.

“And here we are four years later, and what has transpired? Nothing.”, said Weaver.

Shortly after the sparring between Clark and Horgan began.

“I don’t think this is about politics.”

“You’re all about politics.”

And continued to heat up on the campaign’s main issues.

“It’s about kids. It’s about people like my son.”

“It’s not about your son.”

“Daughters, husbands.”

Until moderator Good had to interject to allow Andrew Weaver an opportunity to speak.

Then the discussion gets testy with Horgan and Clark.

“Is this minute thing, Bill? We’re not doing the minute thing anymore?”

“I’m trying to be fair.”

“OK.”

“Alright?”

“Calm down, John. Because John.”

“Don’t touch me again, please.”

Who won today’s debate?

Dr. David Black from Royal Roads University says it’s easier to pick the loser, John Horgan.

“One, a lot of cross talk. A lot of interruptions of the candidates, in particular of Premier Clark. An odd moment where Premier Clark reached over and touched his arm. He complained about that.”

Clark says exchanges did not bother her.

“It’s radio. And I know radio. You want to have kind of a free-flow of discussion. So that’s kind of the nature of radio.”

For much of the sparring, Weaver sat to the side.

“Did staying out of the bickering work in your favour?” “That’s for you to judge. it’s not my style.”

Horgan makes no apologies for his performance.

“Bill said, “Let’s have a feisty debate”. And I think we gave him a feisty debate.”