Debate moderator Jennifer Burke (CTV)

ELECTION 2017: TV debate a test for party leaders

Christy Clark, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver face off for 90 minutes

B.C.’s three party leaders go head to head in their final debate tonight, a key opportunity to reach voters before the May 9 provincial election.

The debate runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., broadcast on CTV, Global BC and CPAC. CBC Vancouver will carry the debate live on its website and broadcast it on its main TV channel after tonight’s NHL playoff games. This Black Press report will be updated during the debate and after leaders take questions later in the evening.

CTV News Channel anchor Jennifer Burke is the moderator, returning for her second B.C. election debate after the 2013 broadcast. B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark faces new challengers this time, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

Burke said viewers should expect a more formal structure than last week’s News 1130 radio debate, with questions put to each leader and one-on-one discussions with the third microphone turned off. This is to minimize interruptions and talking over each other that were noticeable in last week’s debate and that viewers tend to find frustrating, Burke said.

She described her role as “more of a traffic cop,” making sure leaders answer the questions that are put to them in the 45 seconds they are given to respond.

Hundreds of submitted questions have been reviewed and some selected to represent the most popular topic areas. Leaders will also be allowed to ask each other questions.