The Great Debate
I'm going to give this one to Jack "let's not play politics, let's send more New Democrats to Ottawa" Layton. Jack actually sounded like he was listening to the questions; he referenced them, rather than just going straight to talking points. He did get cut off on time a lot, but he seemed genuine, attacked the Liberals, and still showed a positive NDP vision.
Harper gave well thought out answers. Yeah, he sucked up to the questioners and pandered a bit...but less than everyone else. He didn't look scary and defended his policies, especially the GST, well. One problem for Steve was that Paul outdid him on the "proud to be Canadian" questions. I'll be curious how the Iraq stuff plays out once the media looks through Cellucci's book.
Duceppe was...fun. I won't add anything else.
Martin was...Martin. Big words, big emotion, but a little weak on substance. He certainly felt most at home in this format and used it to his advantage. His attack on Duceppe was "the clip" they'll keep showing, which might make him the winner once all is said and done.
First, the scores for the off-beat election pool:
Harper "Corruption": 3
Martin "Clear": 5
And now, The Debate:
6:01 pm: "Welcome to the debate featuring the major party leaders". Sorry Jim Harris.
6:09 pm: Things start off with the same sex question and Harper handles himself better than last night, although Jack comes across as the most genuine.
6:12 pm: Duceppe says "we shouldn't have a free vote on a question that was already resolved." Yeah, that'd be like voting for something in 1980...then in 1995...and still pushing for another vote.
6:14 pm: Harper asks Paul about the God squad. Paul looks grateful that this isn't a real debate where he'd have to answer...uhh...questions.
6:16: Paul announces the gun gestapo to enforce laws that have been on the books for decades.
6:21 pm: Duceppe: "48 billion dollars is...48,000 times a million dollars". Thanks Gilles. It's also 5,241 times 9,158,558 dollars.
6:29 pm: Duceppe compares Ottawa to "that show from the 50s, Father Knows Best". I don't think Duceppe is winning, but he's definitely the most entertaining.
6:38 pm: Jack, for the 8th time, suggests that the problems of Canada will be solved by "sending more New Democrats to Ottawa". "We need people to work for people". It sounds like Jack's platform is based on the Human Fund ("money for people").
6:47 pm: The question is on forcing politicians to keep their promises. Harper gives a very smart point. Paul says "Duh. Promises made, promises kept." Layton goes after Martin forcefully.
Duceppe: "between promising something and keeping it, there's an ocean. And that ocean is called Liberal". Man, Gilles has brought his A material to the English debate.
6:52 pm: Jack Layton complains about "a ruckus in the house". Kids these days...
He then says there should be "money for post-secondary, even aboriginals".
6:56 pm: Paul talks about the opposition leaders poisoning the atmosphere in Parliament. Unlike Tony "I make Parliament work" Valeri.
6:58 pm: Jack says that voting NDP will help solve the problem of "not enough women in Parliament". Boy, is there anything voting for your (male?) NDP candidate won't solve?
Paul says that he (and Tony "I make Parliament work" Valeri) have always supported female candidates.
7:01 pm: "Beer and popcorn!!!" Way to go Jack!
7:07 pm: Jack announces that he's "from the Steves family in 1765 in New Brunswick." Paul makes a joke about Jack being related to everyone. Paul would never never mention a relative of his during a debate.
7:16 pm: Wow. Suddenly everyone came alive.
Harper: "Page 165 of Paul Celucci's book shows Martin wanted to send troops to Iraq."
Layton: "George Bush is better at the environment than Paul Martin."
Duceppe: "Paul Martin is hypocritical."
7:18 pm: Who's this Ambassador Wilkins the moderator keeps mentioning? Is he related to Ambassador Williams?
7:21 pm: "Putting money in your hands is the best way to go." Guess who? ....Paul?!? Paul!?!
7:36 pm: Paul absolutely wraps himself in the Clarity Act, an act he was dead against when Chretien brought it in. This is going to play really well - it'll definitely be "the clip", which works well for Paul.
7:57 pm: Jack brings his theme home - "When you vote NDP, you elect an NDP MP". This has been Politics 101.
8:00 pm: "I hope you'll make your New Year's resolution to watch the next debates." I'm sorry, but I'd rather join a Gym or give up smoking. That'd be far less painful.