Canadian Debate


Who won? Who lost?

Harper was getting beat up (4 on 1) for the first bit, but he had a good showing in the second half. I think he wins.

I actually like Gilles Duceppe. He seems like a pretty decent guy, with both feet on the ground. (Of course there’s the little issue of him being the BQ leader and all.)

Dion isn’t as bad as his image. He’s a smart guy and sometime, when I’m old and grey, I might vote Liberal again. Maybe.

Elizabeth May made a good showing. If I was 20 and, had no life, I might vote Green.

Jack Layton is a twit.

If I could vote for Dion I would. I was glad when he became leader of the Liberals and he’s just so bookish and awkward that he’s awesome (possibly because he reminds me of me). Unfortunately for him, I won’t be voting Liberal because the current MP and candidate is an idiot.

Layton may be a twit be he still had the line of the night: “You say you’ve got a plan? Where is it? Under your sweater?” Seriously…where is the Conservative platform? It seems silly to have a debate when one of the parties doesn’t even have a platform yet.

The thing about the everyone-attack-Harper strategy is that it’s a consistent winner for Stephen Harper. Trust me, he doesn’t mind.

In a bipartisan system like the USA, attacking your opponent is as good as boosting yourself, because it’s an either/or vote. Taking a vote away from your opponent’s just as good as winning one for yourself. But in a three-or-more party situation, convincing someone not to vote Conservative does not necessarily drive them into your party. If Jack Layton scares someone away from Stephen Harper it’s not necessarily the case that he’ll scare that vote into the NDP column; it may go Liberal, Green, or BQ.

The other thing is that it puts Harper in the position of being the sober and calm one at the table; it makes him look like a prime minister and makes everyone else look like an opposition leader. And as Warren Kinsella says, if you audition for the role of opposition, you’ll win the role. I don’t really understand why at least one of the other parties doesn’t realize this;** in a multiparty system you need to give people a reason to vote for you.** They did explain some of their platform but they spent far too much time being angry at Harper.

I don’t think this will move the polls much. Granted, I’ve watched three hours or so of debates and my brain is scrambled, but it struck me as being about as fun as a kitchen table family argument and half as informative. Too many people at the table. Harper invariably strikes me as the smartest and most sober of the lot, and all other things being equal I’ll always favour the smartest person in a group. Nobody else was bad, though, or many any huge gaffes.

RickJay, I agree with almost all of your points. I’d also like to add to my previous post that neither debate changes anything. The Conservatives aren’t going to win a majority.

They’ll end up with somewhere between 130 and 140 seats and we’ll be back here again in 3 years with 4(?) new party leaders.

I missed all the visuals as I was listening on Radio 1 in my car, but I thought Harper was the clear winner. Everyone jumping on him, and then he answers very calmly as if patiently explaining to children. That said, I think Dion did a reasonable job of undercutting the “zomg new tax!” ads the Tories have been running with his repeated line about shifting taxes from things we want like income and profits to pollution instead. It didn’t hurt that May echoed that a few times - which won’t have helped Green, but might shift a few votes from NDP to Liberal.

I’ll give Layton the “under the sweater” zinger, but that’s about the only thing he said that I liked. May lost some potential protest votes in the Prairies when she said Green would ban semi-autos, not that all those ridings aren’t going Conservative anyways.

I’m with Leaffan on Duceppe. I did like his answer to the “What’s the first thing you’d do as Prime Minister?” question. “Well, I know that I won’t be Prime Minister. Some of these others know it too, they just won’t admit it.” I laughed, I did.

For that last question about broken promises, I wish someone had had the stones to say, “Look, governing isn’t easy. There’s tough choices to make, and circumstances change. Sometimes you can’t do what you want to do. Sometimes you have to do things you said you never would. The best any politician can do is stay true to his or her principles. Sometimes that might mean breaking a promise, but that doesn’t mean the politician has broken faith with the electorate.” Of course, the answers all just pointed out promises other people at the table broke, and I got fed up and turned it off. So actually, for all I know, one of the later answers was the one I wanted. :stuck_out_tongue:

Can I just say that the Palin-Biden debate would have been more entertaining if they had been required to speak only French?

I only watched bits and pieces of the debate (during commercials on “Supernatural” - I have my priorities, you know), and my impression of the leaders:
Giles Duceppe - had no business being at that table. He is a provincial politician.
Jack Layton - yapping little chihuahua.
Stephane Dion - nice guy. I’d like to have him as a teacher or supervisor.
Elizabeth May - get your hair done if you want to be a federal level politician so people might take you seriously. Oh, wait, you’re the leader of naivete personified - never mind.
Stephen Harper - I can see where people get the idea he’s arrogant - the little smile never leaves him mouth. I thought he handled the barrage well.

Compelling arguments both.

Hmm. Strangely, I think I was most impressed by Duceppe - that kind of scares me. :slight_smile:

Harper was the smoothest talker but he reminds me of a used car salesman. I kept thinking “smarmy”. May did much better than I expected - I actually found myself listening to her. Layton was the grandstanding blowhard he’s always been. Dion still seems weak, although he has the advantage of being from my (usually) preferred party. Gah! What a mess of “choices”.

Can I vote for Steve Paikin?

Paikin’s good, isn’t he? I watch TVO a lot and Paikin is a great interviewer.

As for Harper’s smile, well you know that’s what his “handlers” told him to do. His image is one of aloofness and you can bet he was instructed to smile the whole time. Just as he was also instructed to never but-in on people. That, IMHO, is why he came out the winner. Interrupting in the middle of a sentence is not very professional. That has always been Layton’s problem. Remember the debate with Paul Martin? Martin actually said to him “Did your handlers tell you to talk all the time?” Or something to that effect.

It pains me to say that I don’t think the debates will have changed anybody’s mind. Attacking Harper was a poor strategy as it’s only preaching to the choir. People need to vote for something, not against something. However much I yearn for a Liberal government, it doesn’t look likely this round. The best I think I can realistically hope for is a Conservative minority that triggers a change of leaders in the Liberal party, spurring a major drive to restore the party throughout the country, followed by bringing the government down at the earliest opportunity.

At least it can’t be said that this election is all about charisma; I had always hoped that where there was no charisma, there would be ideas - but ideas seem to be pretty scarce on the ground this season, too.

I did say I was watching it during “Supernatural” commercials - I wasn’t exactly offering myself up as an in-depth analyst.

I have said this for each debate Duceppe has been in.

If he weren’t a scum sucking lowlife separatist, He’d make a great Prime minister.

He’s intelligent, quick witted, well spoken and actually quite likable. When ever I watch an English language debate with him he comes across as a winner. His attacks are concise, his policies, though Quebec centred, are actually quite sound if applied throughout the country.

He also has the luxury of knowing that being there has no bearing on the results for the Bloc so he can be bolder than other leaders.

I was not impressed with Mae last night, though my wife was. On second reflection after a night I realize I was biased against her party and filtered her comments through that. I must listen again because she was well armed and knew what she was talking about. (AND THANK GOD SHE DIDN’T DRESS LIKE A FORMER PM DURING A DEBATE)

For me Dion almost seemed a non entity. I know he was there but YAK ATTACK Jack dominated most of that side of the table. He was intelligent and did a far better job communicating en anglais than I expected just he seemed so… I don’t know… Invisible.
Layton just Irked me. His "Exxon buddies " remarks got wearing and his ideology is too far left to make him plausible as a PM. He does get points for bing a strong leader of the opposition. I think he’d be good at keeping the Conservatives grounded in the middle.
BTW I found his attempts at humour lame. Jack’s timing is awful… So is Elizabeth’s. I crnged every time they tried to toss in a joke because they thudded terribly.

Harper wasn’t exactly Stellar but he held his own seeing as he was everyone else’s punching bag. He came off as cool and collected but still his “everything is great” responses to the questions of the economy seemed the wrong tactic.

And do they have a platform?!?!

The Winner… Interviewer Steve Paikin who actually asked the most pointed and BS cutting questions everyone else at the table should have. I think I’ll be watching more of him on TVO.

I think this describes my impression of him very well. Kind of a ghost, perhaps.

More scintillating political commentary.
Has anyone mentioned how Layton looks like Lenin yet?

I finally got to watch the first half of the debate today.

As of this part (up to Health Care), this is how I see it:

This may be part bias speaking, but I thought Harper came across as the only grownup in the room. He’d sit there patiently while five people had a go at them, and let them speak and not interrupt. They’d give him partisan boilerplate, work in “George Bush” a lot, and talk about how greedy businesses get breaks. And then Harper would get his turn, and quietly say, “Look. Here’s the reality. If you do X, this is what will happen. That’s why we chose to do Y. We’d love to do some of the things that you mentioned, but we have to balance all these needs off against each other, and work with limited funds and the reality of a global market.” Fairly straight talk. Are manufacturing jobs coming back? Probably not. Not those specific ones, anyway. They left for a reason - we weren’t competitive. Our job as government is to help people find new jobs, and help transition the economy to areas where we are competitive."

And the others would bluster and sputter about the little guy and how he’s hurt and how mean and callous Harper was. And when he’d get his chance, he’d just talk about his programs and the limitations of the power of government. It was a very, very good performance from him.

And I love the way every other party had a plan to be A) more fiscally responsible, B) Cut taxes, and C) increase spending. They don’t seem to realize that you can only pick two out of those three things.

The way it came across to me is that these guys fired every barrel they had at Harper - accusing him of being a Bush toady, trying to tie him to the finincial crisis, calling him heartless, telling him he’s wrecking the economy and the country, and all the rest. And in the end, Harper was pretty much unscathed.

And did you notice that the evil businesses du jure are now banks and oil companies? I guess the lefty focus groups have decided that banks have passed tobacco companies in the big race to see who can better be used for political gain. Congratulations, banks.

If I had to pick the second most impressive person, it would be Dion. Unlike the others, he sometimes came across as someone who actually has a clue and has some serious ideas that aren’t borderline nutty. In broad strokes, he’s right about carbon taxes, IF you assume you need to punish carbon in the first place, and that this is the time to do it. And I actually believe him when he says he would try to be fiscally responsible. But I don’t believe his tax plan. It’s not revenue neutral. The shell game the liberals are playing is to basically say that government spending is equivalent to a tax cut. We’re going to take an extra 12 billion dollars, but we’ll give you back 12 billion dollars in new government programs. So it’s revenue neutral.

That only works on the crazy planet. Everywhere else, that’s called taxing and spending.

Another thing that struck me is that Gilles Duceppe is doing the best he can to make two of the ‘have’ Provinces hate Quebec, the biggest ‘have-not’ province. he was blatant about his carbon program being a huge wealth grab from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Proud of it. He was positively beaming when he said, “This means MONEY for Quebec! More money!” He’s trying to make the case that since Alberta has been producing energy since 1990, and therefore emitting more CO2 than Quebec, that we’re on the hook for the past 18 years of emissions and need to pony up a huge wad of a cash and ship it east. it looked like most of the other parties agreed with that. Dion remained mute.

I guess these other parties have all decided that they are no longer national players, and are just regional parties, because they sure don’t mind pissing away every vote west of Manitoba for the sake of popular sound bites in support of programs that will never happen. As power and population continue to shift westward in Canada, they’re going to find themselves increasingly marginalized.

So far at this point in the debate, a big win for Harper. The partisans on the left will stick with their people, but the center’s going to move Harper’s way after that showing.

Pretty much what I was going to say, but you said it better.

The Conservative govenrment has done about ten separate things to irritate me in the last six months but I’m voting that way simply because Harper appears (and based on his record is) at least competent. And competence counts for something in the absence of anything else.

The Dion, May and Layton plans are just impossible; you can’t do what they’re proposing to do and keep the budget balanced. As angry as I am over the Conservatives’ overly genersou spending, their projections and plans are at least within the bounds of reason and possibility; the other parties are proposing tens of billions in new costs without a clue as to where the money’s coming from.

That said, I’m not sure Harper won the debate in the eyes of the populace. Stupid “ur the suxxor cuz ur just liek BUSH!!!1!” stuff apparently works. I say that because it’s a message that sticks with some people despite the plain facts, which are that Harper is about as different from George Bush as a politician can be and still be a popular politician in a Western democracy; their backgrounds, personalities, interests, educations, and manners of governance are completely different, and their policies differ in more ways that can be counted.

It may be because I’m a professional skeptic and detector of bullshit (I’m an ISO 9001 auditor) but the only things that impress me are facts; I don’t really care about personality. I thought McCain slightly edged Obama in their debate, and thought Biden slaughtered Palin; on that subject, everyone said Palin did okay, and I thought she was an embarrassing disgrace to her party and her country in that debate, because in two thirds of her responses she either had no facts or obviously did not understand what she had been taught to say. I don’t like John McCain at all and think he’d be a terrible President and I have no real care for Joe Biden, but they had more facts at their disposal than their opponents. So Harper impresses me simply because he’s the only person at the table who sounds like he’s being realistic. The other parties were selling fiscal plans that cannot work.

But personality matters to a LOT of people. And in fairness should does count for something, because it’s important in a head of government or state. There’s no good equivalent in Canadian politics right now, but Obama’s personality vastly surpasses McCain’s, and it’s one of the reasons I’d vote for Obama if I was American.

So for that reason I do not buy Harper won the debate in the eyes of the public. I predict no bump at all for the Conservatives.

I was quite impressed with Elizabeth May’s performance. She went a long way towards making her party look legitemate Thursday night. And then she had to ruin it by calling for another gun ban. Her and Dion also successfully (in my opinion) explained the green shift. Dion has been seen as such an incompetent leader and poor speaker (thanks partly to the Conservatives) that a simply ‘ordinary’ debate performance from him is sure to raise him up in many people’s eyes. And he can pronounce ‘laissez-faire’ correctly.

I have to disagree with the previous posters’ consensus on Duceppe. Last debate, he definitely came across as a strong leader, and I remember thinking he won… but this debate, between his constant harping on ‘reimbursable’ tax credits, the Iraq shouting match, and his poor posture, I felt he did poorly.