Mark Clairmont |

PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — The advantage of being a Tuesday morning quarterback is you can hit rewind.

You can’t do that if you’re running for prime minister.

A video review of last night’s national leadership debate was informative and transformative.

Unlike the dispassionate local candidates’ meetings, the federal leaders showed guts when poked.

And they were unmasked in new ways.

From Andrew Scheer’s risky, undiplomatic gambit off the top about Justin Trudeau’s racist youthful indiscretions.

To Trudeau’s best riposte when he told Maxime Bernier: “You’re saying what Andrew Scheer is thinking.”

The front four came off better than expected.

But first, Bernier and the Bloc’s Yves-Francois Blanchet were the punching bags who know they’re not going to win but enter the ring like WWE opponents.

The People’s Party leader spent most of the two hours defending, against the other five, his limit on immigration.

Blanchet did much the same on Bill 21, telling Canadians to butt out of his “nation.”

If there was a clear winner, it was Jagmeet Singh, who was personally engaging, with thoughtful answers Canadians could relate to.

May was equally trusting.

She hammered the others on the topic du jour — proving the Greens, their candidates and supporters deserve a bigger role in the climate change conversation, and in seats in Parliament.

She told Trudeau: “I hope you don’t get majority.”

Scheer stood up well for himself and his party. He is, after all, a Conservative.

And he made no bones about it.

Trudeau seldom stuck his neck out, mostly keeping out of the fracas, only rarely showing his temper when backed onto the ropes.

There were a lot of blows, many high, some low.

But, it takes a knockout to steal the champion’s belt.

And there were no KOs from any of the pugilists’ corners.

But they all came away bloodied, but unbowed, surviving to fight another day — or 14.

The biggest takeaway was that all six were accusing each other of not being who they say or present themselves as.

Yes and no.

It’s debateable who won; save for the public. A lot was missed, including electoral reform …, but there’s still time to get answers, even from your local candidates. Ask them.

A video review of this main event may reveal otherwise to you.

Take a look, below, and we’ll know Oct. 21.

The federal leaders were bloodied but unbowed after a spirited debate that was the best in years. (BBC photo)

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