I was one of the lucky attendees last Friday at the Munk Debate in Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall. The motion before the house concerned refugee policy: “Be it resolved: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” On the pro side: Louise Arbour, former UN Human Rights commissioner and historian Simon Schama; on the con side journalist Mark Steyn and Britain’s UKIP party leader Nigel Farage.
The Munk tradition is to poll the audience before and after the debate. On this occasion, the audience was, as one might expect with a Toronto audience, heavily salted with elite liberal culturati, and the first poll was 77 per cent for the motion, 23 per cent con. After the debate, the pro vote was 55 per cent and the con 45 per cent, a huge shift in opinion, and therefore a handy win for the cons.