OTTAWA, April 14 (UPI) -- Canada's top four political leaders held their final pre-election debate in French in a much more animated and noisy fashion than the English debate.
Wednesday night's debate in Ottawa came a day after the English debate among Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, socialist New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and separatist Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe.
Again, Harper was put on the defensive and many of the same issues from Tuesday were brought up, such as his 5-year-old minority government's purchase of fighter jets, building super-prisons, corporate tax cuts and secrecy.
The issue of Quebec's independence figured more prominently. Duceppe reminded the other leaders Quebec never signed on to the Canadian constitution of 1982, and separation and sovereignty were still issues for the people of Quebec.
The other leaders countered that the issue took a back seat to employment and healthcare. Harper maintained his stance that growing the economy took precedence.
Several times during the 2-hour debate, Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe all spoke at once, jabbing fingers and waving arms as Harper shrugged and smiled.
A snap poll after the debate ranked Duceppe as the winner, followed by Layton, Ignatieff and Harper. In the English poll, Harper was ranked first, followed by Layton, Ignatieff and Duceppe.
All four leaders returned to campaigning Thursday, all in Quebec.
The fourth federal election in 7 years is scheduled for May 2 after the opposition parties voted down the Conservative minority government in late March.