Monday, November 08, 2004

The Great Debate

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.


  • I heard about the debate after the fact, this morning. Very poor media coverage, IMO...but then again, I tend to get my news strictly from CKUA.

    The only tidbits I got from the morning news was that Mason and Taft attacked Klein on health care. Not a word was said about how Klein performed, which I found curious. Granted, CKUA tends to change their news bites to make things fresh every hour so maybe they were keeping their Klein digs for the 8am news.

    In my mind, Taft really needs to hammer away at Klein's health care secret plan. The 20% budget cuts at UofC as well as the terrible Macleans rating might be another chink in Klein's armor but I think the target audience for that particular issue is much narrower than that for health care.

    By Blogger Jasen, at 10:44 a.m.  

  • I agree, Health Care has a lot more play than Education. Taft was big on the "secret agenda privatization" stuff - not sure how well that will play. Klein's "I don't know the best solution" to health care looked weak. As did his "My plan is to make our health care system" great when he was repeatedly asked what his plan was.

    FWIW, the Herald's on-line poll had 60% of responding listing Taft as the debate winner this morning. Not that online polls mean much.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:23 p.m.  

  • " one cares, because, well, it's Alberta."

    Difficult to agree with that statement on a visceral level, but any suggestions about how we can start to shift consciousness a little.

    Enjoyed your rundown on the debate.

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  • Great post! Does anyone know where a person who does not own a TV could watch the debate- has it made its way to the internet yet?

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