Archive | The first televised debate in Canada in 1962

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Archives | ;bat on television in Canada in 1962

On November 11, 1962, Radio-Canada broadcast its very first televised debate between party leaders during the Quebec election campaign

Sixty years ago, on November 11, 1962, Radio-Canada broadcast a televised debate between party leaders for the first time. Jean Lesage, leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec and Daniel Johnson, leader of the Union Nationale, face off in this Quebec election.

The opening of the TV special The Johnson-Lesage Debate alone announces the historic importance of this first televised debate.

In a long preamble, announcer Jean-Paul Nolet sets out the rules of the game for this confrontation, which will last nearly two hours. Surprisingly today, this face-to-face takes place at the very end of the campaign, barely three days before the elections.

Excerpt from the introduction to the debate between two party leaders, Jean Lesage and Daniel Johnson, during the 1962 Quebec election campaign. The debate is hosted and moderated by journalist Raymond Charrette.

< p class="e-p">Four themes were predefined by the teams of each of the candidates: nationalization, including that of electricity and natural gas, with the Trans-Canada Pipeline affair, the party program and the Liberal administration since 1960.

Candidates have seven minutes to develop each of these themes. There are no direct exchanges between the participants in the debate. After each intervention, journalists present can ask questions.

This table is composed of Paul Sauriol, from the daily newspaper Le Devoir, Gérard Pelletier, from La Presse, Bill Bantey, from the Montreal English daily newspaper The Gazette , Jean V. Dufresne, of the magazine Maclean, as well as Lucien Langlois and Clément Brown, of the daily newspaper Montréal-Matin.

This excerpt from the show also illustrates all the decorum that frames this premiere. The choice of host and moderator Raymond Charette was also the subject of negotiation between the parties and Radio-Canada.

Excerpt from the special debate program between two party leaders, Jean Lesage and Daniel Johnson, during the 1962 Quebec election campaign. We see the drawing of lots for the speaking order. The debate is animated and moderated by the journalist Raymond Charrette.

In this great company, we also notice certain clumsiness. Radio-Canada wanted to make sure that no one doubted its neutrality for the intervention order of the two party leaders. A draw has therefore been planned.

This excerpt shows all the protocol that went into the canning of the names of the two leaders inside two “identical” and “sealed” tubes, in the presence of representatives for each party.

Introducing the debate, host Raymond Charrette struggles to break the seal on the box containing the name of the winner of this draw. “I believe this is a solemn moment,” he says, armed with an x-acto knife. Solemn and tedious, we might add with our look today.

Jean Lesage will emerge as the big winner from this debate. It must be said that the liberal clan was particularly keen for the questions of nationalization of electricity and natural gas to be addressed, both of which could embarrass the Union Nationale and its leader.

Later in the debate, as Jean Lesage stares at the camera, avoiding turning his eyes towards his opponent, remaining calm and not referring to notes, Daniel Johnson x27; annoys, insults Lesage and gets lost in his papers.

If this televised debate marks a first for Radio-Canada, the election night that accompanies it is just as innovative. On the evening of November 14, 1962, in addition to bringing together a panel of big names in journalism, the special program The provincial elections also made use of the new technologies of the time.

Special program for the unveiling and analysis of the results of the Quebec elections of November 14, 1962. This election night is hosted by Lucien Côté, surrounded by a large team of journalists and reporters.

In this excerpt, host Lucien Côté announces that everything has been done to deliver the results of the vote and that the devices “for the big election nights” are ready to serve the election ;team: “cameras, teleprinters, electronic brain IBM”.

The figurehead of this election night, the IBM computer, very sophisticated for the time, produced extrapolations and printed the election results.

Jean Lesage won the elections hands down of November 14, 1962. His great ease during the televised debate of November 11 will certainly have contributed to his victory.

During the subsequent election, in 1966, Daniel Johnson refused a debate with Jean Lesage. The terms, and particularly the date, did not suit him.

In 1970 and 1976, Robert Bourassa, leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, and René Lévesque, leader of the Parti Québécois, debated only on the airwaves.

It will be necessary to wait until the 90s before the exercise of the televised debate becomes an essential moment of any electoral campaign.

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