WASHINGTON — Here's an election trivia question: What politician has been the subject of the most Google searches in Canada, in the leadup to the Oct. 19 vote? The answer: Donald Trump. The boastful billionaire is not only creating waves in the U.S. presidential election, he's also crushing Canada's party leaders when it comes to search-engine interest. Canadian politicians will hope they fare a little better in TV ratings tonight — when both Canada leaders and Republican party will be holding their first debates of this election cycle. Because when it comes to Canadian Google searches in the past 30 days, Trump got nearly the same number of searches as Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair combined. According to figures provided by Google, among searches for the Canadian leaders and for the Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Trump got 42 per cent; Harper got 27; Trudeau got 17, Clinton got nine; and despite his NDP leading recent polls Mulcair had only five per cent. The Canadian leaders' debate begins at 8 p.m. ET. The Republican presidential primary debate begins an hour later. The American political world is speculating that the fascination with the outlandish mogul could lead to record ratings for tonight's Fox News debate. Trump even became an issue in a debate he wasn't part of today. The topic of his candidacy came up in the so-called kiddie-table debate, consisting of candidates who didn't make the Top 10 for the prime-time show. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Caryl Fiorina, whom Fox pundits later unanimously deemed as the most impressive participant, said Trump had managed to tap into the frustration of the American public. But she also took a little shot at him — for flip-flopping on some issues where he once held liberal positions, like his onetime support for single-payer, Canadian-style health care. Republicans have started to challenge Trump's conservative credentials. Because those who tried a previous line of attack — calling him an ill-informed buffoon — saw it backfire. Some of Trump's staunchest critics won't get to face him tonight; Texas governor Rick Perry and Sen. Lindsey Graham didn't make the prime-time cut, and were relegated to the earlier 5 p.m. debate in an empty hall.
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