In case you missed it (and how could you have missed it), the election debate was aired tonight in Alberta. While the Alberta Alliance was absent, I still found it to be a quite interesting hour and a half. Sure, I’m biased, but I think Kevin Taft really came out on top. Brian Mason has got to be a leftist version of Stephen Harper in the charisma/animation field and while Klein started off strong, he relied heavily on his notes and starting dropping into his usual arrogant self by the end of the debate. Oh, and Ralph doesn't know if health care should be public or private. He doesn't know!
First of all, the answers for those with betting pools:
First Ralph Klein reference to the federal Liberal party: 56 minutes in
First Ralph Klein reference to the NEP: 73 minutes in
First Kevin Taft reference to Paul Martin (and why on earth would a provincial Liberal leader make reference to the federal party? Why Kevin, why?!?): 42 minutes in
And now, some random notes I jotted down during the debate.
1. Ralph Klein admitted in the first exchange that he doesn’t know the best way to reform health care after being premier for 11 years. The two opposition leaders jump all over him.
2. The Liberals and NDP hardly went at each other at all. But this wasn’t like the Jack Layton/Gilles Ducceppe love in during the national debates. The two just completely ignored each other, not even acknowledging the other’s presence save for a few barbs by Mason. All the more reason the two parties should merge imho.
3. Kevin Taft has a spectacular post secondary policy. I think he definitely came out on top during this part of the debate. Klein was almost disdainful to students during his speech.
4. Ralph Klein must be a reader of this blog! Why else would he point to the Macleans rankings which I posted on a few days ago? However Ralph seems to think that a 6th by U of A and a 14th by U of C (of 15 schools) shows he’s doing a good job.
5. The autopilot exchange was a fun one with both Klein and Taft getting a few jabs in. Smart move by Taft to bring up the Klein “autopilot” comments.
6. Mason really didn’t look good. His comments seemed to jump around with no real flow and he wasn’t the least bit animated. Klein and Taft were smiling and cracking jokes every now and then and…SHOWING EMOTION!
7. What’s the plan Ralph? What’s the plan?
8. I laughed out loud when Ralph said “the combined NDP and Liberal spending promises…”. What an unbelievable statement to make.
9. Klein really relied on his notes.
10. You could tell Klein was coached early on to keep his cool but towards the end, he started to lose it. He started ranting against Ottawa and the arrogance seeped through. Towards the end he lectured Mason “Who will people believe? You or me?”. Another 20 minutes and he would have been eaten alive.
So Taft takes the debate but no one watches and no one cares because, well, it’s Alberta.