While the federal party leaders duked it out in Gatineau, QC, Canadians watching across the country had questions abound about policies and the politicians proposing them.
Monday’s federal leaders’ debate was livestreamed on thestar.com, and broadcast live on CBC, CTV and Global News. The debate was also broadcast on live social media and YouTube.
With such an accessible format, it’s no wonder thousands of Canadians tuned into the debate (Cineplex watch party, anyone?) — and they had plenty of questions to ask Google about what they were seeing and hearing.
The data pulled from Google trends don’t show any party leader gaining the most searches over the course of the debate — in fact, the leaders were all virtually neck in neck between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
At 7:51 p.m., a massive spike appears in the trend data showing searches for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, which appears to correspond with Scheer and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier facing off about provincial jurisdiction and pipelines, which came up, off-topic, during the Indigenous affairs segment of the debate.
During the same two-hour time period, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was himself searched most often in Alberta.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative Leader Scheer both led search trends in Nunavut, though that can largely be attributed to the territory’s small population relative to the rest of Canada. Google says a small population will skew search data upwards, as the searches per person looks stronger in that area than the same amount of searches in a more populous province.
While Google won’t provide an exact number, we can see that Singh led the way on overall trends on Monday, with Google’s traffic tracker showing over 500,000 searches for his name (topping out over even the Toronto Maple Leafs) making him the most-searched topic of the day.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May saw the most search traffic from British Columbia, where she is trying to retain her seat in the riding of Saanich — Gulf Islands.
Bernier saw the bulk of his searches crop up in Quebec. And, unsurprisingly, so did Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.
Among the top questions raised to Google? How about “who won tonight’s debate?” (Unclear, says our Ottawa bureau.)
A heated discussion over Quebec’s Bill 21, which bars public service workers from wearing religious symbols, prompted searches that sought to clarify the purpose of the bill.
“What is corporate welfare?” asked some Canadians. “What is polarization?”
Let us clarify both: Corporate welfare, simply put, means that the government is propping up private corporations. Polarization is the difference of opinion at both ends of the political spectrum, a gap between political ideologies that appears to be widening.
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Canadians seemed equally interested in getting answers on education, foreign policy, immigration and the economy — but the breakout star of policy was housing, with that topic seeing far more search traffic across the country and climbing across the duration of the debate.
If yesterday’s trends were any indication, Canadians are very interested in what the federal leaders had to say, with the majority of yesterday’s trending searches related to the election.
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Have you been using Google to search for things election-related. If so, what are you searching for?