In the three U.S. presidential candidates' debates, and in one vice presidential candidates' debate, Canada came up frequently. But in the final debate of this election season -- the one devoted nominally to foreign policy -- Canada did not come up at all. Is this cause for alarm or indignation? No.
The President was again in a debate with a challenger, and again Canadians were glued to their seats. It is easy to understand why Americans cared about these debates -- it is their country, after all. What is less easy to understand, and more interesting, is why Canadians did.
Canadians are watching these debates because they are convinced that America and its values matter in the world. If Trudeau, Harper or Mulcair seek to inspire Canadians they would do well to take a page from our neighbours to the south and convince Canadians, no, tell them, that we are not just another country.
During his first debate with Mitt Romney, Barack Obama seldom looked directly at Romney. He seldom contradicted Romney. He never raised his voice to Romney. He never really challenged Romney. So what happens in the second U.S. presidential debate? OBAMA GETS HIS MOJO BACK!!! He came out bristling for a fight. This time Obama's in charge. He dominates the fight, provides the drive, the passion. This time, no deference.