Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ontario Debates

No one knows who will win the Ontario election, two of the three leaders remain virtual unknowns, and the campaign still lacks a ballot question. Yet somehow, without warning, Ontario finds itself just 9 sleeps away from Voting Day.

So tonight's debate will be important.

I'll be live-blogging the festivities starting at 6:30, and will offer my thoughts on why Dalton McGuinty won afterwards.

For those just tuning in tonight, here's a look at the players:

Dalton McGuinty: McGuinty has taken his lumps over the past eight years, and was written off by most pundits just a few months ago. Voters wanted change, Ontario's economy was sputtering, and the HST was about to claim its second victim. Yet here we are, closing in on E-Day, and "The Taxman" is tied with Tim Hudak.

McGuinty has looked cool and been on message since day 1. He has played up his "experienced leadership" through tough economic times, and cautioned voters against risking Ontario's stable economic recovery on unproven leaders. The man is one blue sweater vest away from being mistaken for Stephen Harper. I know Liberals will squirm at those words, but I mean it in the nicest way possible.


Tim Hudak: The PC campaign has focused almost exclusively on two isses - taxes, and Hudak's BBQ skills. While most voters concerned about these two issues will no doubt vote PC on October 6th, Hudak's set list hasn't moved much beyond this (with the exception of his controversial "foreign workers" jab). Given McGuinty hasn't actually promised to raise taxes, and is likely a fine BBQer himself, Hudak will need to show he's more than a tax cut sound machine tonight, if he wants to win.

Hudak always struck me as a bit of a Stockwell Day type, so he's the odds-on favourite to use a prop during tonight's debate.


Andrea Horwath: Most Ontarians can't pronounce her name and wouldn't recognize her on the street, yet they'll still tell you they like Andrea Horwath.

Being liked and unknown means Horwath has the most riding on tonight. A strong performance, and it's not impossible for her to pull off an "accidental" win on election night à la Bob Rae. If she Iggies the debate, all the positive Jack Layton feelings in the world won't be enough to keep her in the mid-20s.

Horwath will be standing centre stage tonight, which is appropriate, since all eyes will be on her.

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5 Comments:

  • Ah, yes, more Liberal spin.

    McGuinty has, in fact, already promised to raise your taxes after the election. He buried it in legislation he pushed through earlier this year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:43 PM  

  • Hudak has set his tone way too angry and even bordering on disrespectful - he'll have a hard time overcoming that in a debate format. Horwath is the most likeable provincial politician in decades but, in the past at least, has been a terrible terrible terrible in debates. All McGuinty has to do keep it steady, reel 'em in, don't attack too much and he'll be the winner. This should be an easier debate than the last election (vs. debate-star Hampton and lovable-loser J.Tory)


    As always, Steve Paikin will find a way to make this debate about himself.

    By Anonymous Marc from soccer, at 6:30 PM  

  • Marc, ironically I think your comments suggest that the bar for McGuinty should be high. That said I just watched the second half of the debates, and I think he did well enough.

    We'll have to wait and see who the media crowns as the winner, though, because that is what really matters (eg. if you polled people who actually watched the federal 2011 debates, Harper and Duceppe won in English and French respectively, not Layton).

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 8:35 PM  

  • I talked with a number of folks, partisan and non-, and included some folks from the Liberal war room as well.

    None thought that McGuinty won the debate.

    None.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:33 AM  

  • Really? I thought Dalton did very very well. A definite B+ to Horwath's B and Hudak's B average (sometimes A-, sometimes C)

    Re: hoosier; the bar is higher for McGuinty in the sense that he's the most seasoned and experienced of the three. On the flip side, the bar is lower because all he has to do is come out alive.

    By Anonymous Marc from soccer, at 7:24 AM  

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