Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Debate Live Blog

7:00 pm: We are ready to go! Vegas had the over/under on "coalition" mentions by Stephen Harper at 8.5. Place your bets!

7:02 pm: Fun fact - this set was also used in the 1972 debate. Geez, you think they could have used some of the G20 stimulus money on new panelling.

7:08 pm: I'll give Duceppe-Harper to Harper. The debate is all on the stimulus program, allowing Harper to tout what he has done, rather than talking about G20 waste or corporate tax cuts.

7:11 pm: Jack Layton to Stephen Harper - "you used to care about the environment". Huh? Maybe when he was 5.

7:28 pm: Michael versus Jack...let's call it a wash. After all, foreign policy won't move any votes. The debate does give us the first "podium pounding" of the night, courtesy of Ignatieff.

7:34 pm: Well, that's 5 questions Harper has answered. Time to go home!

7:40 pm: Harper versus Ignatieff...on the coalition! Oh man, here we go.

7:44 pm: WTF moment of the night, courtesy of Harper - "I don't think these personal attacks back and forth are productive."

7:48 pm: Iggy versus Harper...I give it to Ignatieff for looking strong and forceful. "This isn't bickering, this is democracy" is likely the media clip of the night. But Ignatieff has made his point on contempt. He needs to start giving viewers a reason to vote for him.

7:57 pm: The last 10 minutes of coalitions, letters from 7 years ago, proportional representation, and how governments are formed was a lot of fun for polisci clubs watching. But I can't imagine anyone else in Canada caring about this. Harper takes this exchange for making the simple point that Canadians don't want mor elections.

8:08 pm: Layton versus Duceppe...I'l admit I found myself wishing there was a hockey game on I could switch over to. I did enjoy Jack implying we aren't making enough babies though.

8:39 pm: And Jack Layton makes history by making the first ever Twitter joke in a nationally televised debate. And, I assume, the first to use the word "bling". Somebody is courting the youth vote!

8:52 pm: Harper calls Health Care his top priority. What about our fragile economic recovery?

9:00 pm: Now we SPIN! I'll have my thoughts later tonight. Comment away!


  • Good thing the debate format included questions from ordinary citizens. Gave Duceppe something to ignore completely in his response and first attack on the Prime Minister.

    By Blogger Paul, at 7:06 PM  

  • "I remember a Steven Harper once upon a time."

    By Blogger Chris, at 7:14 PM  

  • You think they could have done a sound check to make sure the room doesn't echo.

    By Anonymous CJS, at 7:32 PM  

  • Thought so far: way too much focus by Ignatieff on the contempt motion. I frankly agree with Harper that most people will just interpret this as partisan opportunism, and strengthens Harper's narrative that he needs a majority to silence the quibbling.

    By Blogger saphorr, at 7:45 PM  

  • I counted Harper as saying "coalition" once. I think a lot of people lost a point on their scorecard tonight.

    As for who won, I think Harper did quite well (obviously, I like the guy). He was composed, pointed to concrete policies and stayed on message (and the economy is always a good issue). I think he spoke effectively to the 40%+ of the populace he needs.

    Ignatieff is not getting very good advice. The killer angle with the G-8 issue was accountability, not democracy. I don't think swing voters believe that Canadian democracy is in peril. They may be open to be convinced as to whether or not Harper is a crook. He also left wide open the fiscal hole in Harper's promises. He was at his best talking about Afghanistan. He also frankly didn't speak enough.

    Jack Layton was rambunctious as always, and looked more like an alternative to Harper.

    Duceppe sounded drunk (and let me clarify that I think Duceppe did very well in the adscam debates).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 9:04 PM  

  • Harper survived. He wins.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 9:17 PM  

  • I thought Harper seemed to be hiding in a corner. I think his handlers told him to say as little as possible, as to not embarrass himself. The house found the CPC's in contempt yet he doesn't agree, like he's the manager of a baseball team walking out of the dugout to confront the umpire.

    Ignatieff had a few good jabs at Stevie, "you stiffed parliament." was my favorite.

    Jack Layton, is Jack Layton and will always be Jack Layton :)

    And ohh...how I wish Duceppe was a federalist, I like him because he seems the most forthright of all the leaders.

    "And oh the way Jean's rhetoric played, those were the the days."

    By Blogger Alex Curren, at 9:19 PM  

  • I might be looking back with rose coloured glasses but I felt that the format was much better for the 2008 debate. No one seemed to come off very well here. The questions began as too narrow which seemed to demand tangents which then got out of hand, resulting in a lack of focus to the evening.

    I am not sure if there was really anything during the debate that will create movement. I certainly would not proclaim a victor while I distinctly remember feeling that Duceppe came out ahead last time.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 9:28 PM  

  • Agree with H2H on Ignatieff. All the talk about democracy seemed to be missing the point, and I think he could have done better focusing on the Harper government as unilateral, dictatorial, and unaccountable.

    He did touch on this theme a few times, but there are lots of things I wish he or Layton or Duceppe had mentioned in support of this theme:
    - the fact that Harper tried to name the government after himself
    - the Tories' character assassination of career civil servants such as Linda Keen, Richard Colvin, and Munir Sheikh.

    By Blogger saphorr, at 9:56 PM  

  • My suspicion is that Ignatieff wasn't so much playing to change the minds of current Tory voters, as to rile up those Liberal voters who stayed home in 2008. And I suspect he did fairly well at that goal.

    By Blogger ajbeecroft, at 10:12 PM  

  • The whole debate was "meh" to me.

    By Anonymous Tim N, at 10:34 PM  

  • When the best Kinsella can do is post, "Iggy did fine." You know you are in trouble.

    Fine yeah. Not good enough to change anything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 PM  

  • Iggy looked pretty good in places (honestly, a lot better than I was expecting), but maybe not good enough to really move undecided voters. I thought his bit on the corporate tax rate was really strong.

    Layton seemed pretty good, overall. He kept the focus on policy issues that people care about, and he put Iggy on the defensive a few times, which is what he needs.

    Harper didn't really have any moments where he made really great points but he looked calm and reasonable and that's what he needs.

    Gilles was just plain off his game, and pretty dissapointed. He kept looking down instead of at the camera. He looked like even he had no idea why he was there.

    By Anonymous HonestB, at 1:16 AM  

  • I was out tonight and taped the debate to watch later. But I did follow on Twitter.

    And all I saw were posts from the MSM about how nervous Ignatieff looked, and how he fumbled near the end.

    These are from people who have given him unconditional love over the past two weeks.

    I don't know how you read it as a positive thing for his team. But hey, I'm not nearly as good at spinning as you are, Dan.

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:37 AM  

  • When Layton said that he was from Quebec, born and raised, I was dying for him to add "on a playground is where I spent most of my days."

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:26 AM  

  • Alex Curran @ 9:19 said "The house found the CPC's in contempt yet he doesn't agree, like he's the manager of a baseball team walking out of the dugout to confront the umpire."

    It's more like the accuser is also the Judge and Jury. i.e. The Liberals and N.D.P. accuse the Gov't of contempt. The Chair on the committee is a Liberal, & those voting on the motion of contempt are mostly Liberals and N.D.P. The whole thing was a joke and anybody honest with themselves know it.

    By Anonymous Dave B., at 12:17 PM  

  • Dave B is right. They theoretically could have found the Conservatives in contempt for farting during Question Period.

    It's up to us, as voters, to determine whether their judgment was accurate or not. In effect, the contempt motion causes us to review their actions as much as Harper's.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 2:28 PM  

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