With that in mind, here are some random thoughts on tonight's debate, transcribed as I (kind of) watch it.
8:08 pm: Pauline Marois takes her first two times speaking to complain about Charest calling a snap election. It's a bad sign when, come the debates, you're still hung up on that and have nothing relevant to talk about.
8:09 pm: Mario Dumont came right out in his opening statement promising mixed public/private health care...and he goes right back to it again now.
8:11 pm: Charest asks Dumont where he'd cut the 2 billion he's promising to cut. Dumont...doesn't answer the question. I vaguely recall an exchange like this hurting Dumont during the last election.
8:24 pm: It's interesting to see so much talk about health care, considering how thoroughly that topic was ignored during the federal election.
8:30 pm: Dumont: "when we all go back to the legislature, our parties will work together". Well, that's assuming there are three parties that actually wind up going back to the legislature...
8:42 pm: Is it just me, or does anyone else wish Jack Layton were here so that we could hear more about the kitchen table issues facing Quebecers?
8:46 pm: Marois: "The only person here who has faced an economic slow down before is me, when I was Finance Minister". Hey! She's cribbing Bob Rae's talking points!
8:52 pm: Marois: "It's your responsibility as head of state...". I'm not sure that's a good way to frame things.
9:06 pm: Marois and Dumont go apeshit over Charest calling the early election again. Do they really want to make this their big issue?
9:13 pm: btw, interesting trivia bit. If and when Charest wins, he'll be the first Premier since Duplesis to win back-to-back-to-back terms.
9:30 pm: Federalism! Woohoo! Now it gets interesting!
Marois says the Quebec nation resolution wasn't enough. Gosh, who could have possibly foreseen that it wouldn't satisfy the separatists?
All three want more powers for Quebec. Maybe we should give it to them because I'm sure then the separatists will be satisfied, right?
Dumont, for reasons only he knows, decides to bring up smoking and drugs. This annoys me, because there's no Andre Boisclair to crack jokes about. Get it? "Crack" jokes?
Charest then delivers a fantastic sound byte where he lists everything he's managed to soak down Ottawa for since he became Premier. It's kind of depressing in one sense, but the man is absolutely winning this round.
Charest looked like a Premier. Marois looked like an opposition leader. And Dumont looked like some random guy who stumbled into the opposition leader's seat by fluke. It might have played differently to a Quebec audience, but I give this one to Charest, hands down.