6:12 pm: I just log on to the CPAC website now as Charest says "you need to elect the best team, I have the best team". I guess the fact that none of his candidates have been busted for genocide denial or racist comments does put him in first.
6:14 pm: Dumont promises more private health care.
6:16 pm: Boisclair says that "Charest does not deserve a second chance". I'm not sure if Andre Boisclair is really the person who should be saying that people don't deserve second chances...
6:23 pm: Boisclair says that all Quebecers should have access to drugs. I'm sure Andre knows a guy who can help ensure that...
6:25 pm: Dumont attacks Boisclair for what "his government" did when the PQ were in power. I don't think Andre Boisclair can be held responsible for what the PQ did considering he was stoned most of the time.
6:33 pm: We all love the environment blah blah blah...this is gonna be a dull round.
6:39 pm: Ding Ding Ding! Boisclair becomes the first candidate to take a shot at Alberta during the debate, lamenting how Quebecers' tax dollars are funding the oil sands. I know! I just hate how Quebec tax dollars keep getting sent to Alberta.
6:48 pm: Let me just say that it's nice to watch a debate where we won't have to listen to hours of post-game analysis about how good everyone's French was.
6:55 pm: I'm not sure if you can look "Prime Ministerial" in a provincial debate, or even if that's a good thing, but Charest seems to be cool and in control of this one. Dumont and Boisclair also keep going after each other like rabid squirrels whenever they get the 1 on 1 debates against each other which, one imagines, also serves Charest well.
7:03 pm: Dumont produces a document related to the overpass collapse...I'm not really sure what the brouhaha is all about so I guess we'll need to wait until the post game show to see what it's all about.
7:08 pm: Boisclair asks Dumont "what is the room to manoeuvre?" repeatedly. Even the translator gets fired up over it! It looks to me like Boisclair caught Dumont not knowing his facts. WHAM! BAM! You know it's bad when Andre Boisclair makes you look inexperienced and not ready to govern.
7:13 pm: Jean Charest takes credit for increasing the Quebec birth rate. Who does this guy think he is? Pierre Trudeau?
7:27 pm: Charest: "Mr. Dumont, why are you saying the opposite of the truth?". Charest goes on to absolutely own Dumont on the topic of school boards.
Quebec's Political Future (Let's get ready to rummmmble!)
7:32 pm: Boisclair says that Charest accepted Trudeau's constitution. Huh? Charest was, like, 24 then. (hat tip to Antonio on that one)
7:35 pm: Boisclair doesn't answer what his "Plan B" is if a referendum fails. Dumont doesn't answer what constitutional powers he wants. They go back and forth on this for about three minutes.
7:40 pm: Boisclair attacks Charest for not demanding enough from Ottawa. Charest then lists everything he's squeezed out of Martin and Harper over the last four years.
7:43 pm: Boisclair compares the fiscal imbalance to giving a blood bank to a vampire. I'm not really sure how the metaphor works but I'm glad he didn't say "giving crack to an addict".
7:47 pm: Dumont says that the Counsel of Federation is a playground for Charest to go to Niagara Falls, Edmonton, and St. John's. Believe me - I live in Edmonton - and no one would consider a trip to Edmonton as a junket or perk.
So, all in all, I'd say Charest did what he had to do - he looked the most like a leader out there. Dumont really fizzled in my opinion. Of course, I'm sure people in Quebec may get a completely different impression from it so it'll be interesting to see tomorrow's media spin.
UPDATE: It's a small sample, but the overnight polls seem to have Dumont taking the debate. Go figure. (H/T Nottawa)