Monday, January 09, 2006

What Resonated With Me

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
Here is what resonated with me in the debate.

Gilles Duceppe:
Quebec is not divisible because it came into Canada as a whole? Well, Monsieur Duceppe, if Quebec left Canada with the same "whole" that it came in with it would be leaving without the majority of Quebec. It would be leaving without the riches of energy and resources in northern Quebec. Monsieur, if the Cree want to stay they will. The separatist myth machine is ridiculous. But when federalists like Helene Chalifour-Sherrer or Marc Garneau speak the truth they get shot down by the elitist, separatist establishment of Quebec because ... the truth hurts.

Jack Layton:
I do not understand why Layton spends as much time as he does talking about Quebec issues. There were moments in the debate that he spent time talking about Quebec when he did not have too. The NDP are not going to win a single seat in Quebec and would do better the more seats the Liberals win there. However, the NDP do well in situations like a national debate because it is one of the few moments when they get the same media attention as all the parties. And Layton did well. The down side is that as soon as the debates are over the NDP starts to fade into the background.

Paul Martin:
What is with the debate about whether Quebec is a nation? At some point Quebecers really need to ask themselves whether the issues that separatists shove to the front are of any value to Quebec? How will ordinary Quebecers benefit from that debate no matter who wins? Why did Martin let himself get involved in this debate? And what is with the proposal to amend the constitution? At first I thought it was a trap. But then Harper shot back that he does believe there are times when the notwithstanding clause should be used. As soon as he said that I thought here comes the knockout punch that Martin needs; here comes a punch that Martin has likely rehearsed all day. Then nothing. So what was the point? You mean Martin thinks that promising another round to amend the constitution is actually a vote getter and is actually a good thing to do? My goodness the political instincts that Martin and his team have demonstrated are exceptionally terrible. As you can see, I am left with more questions on his performance than commentary.

He was boring, but that is a much better alternative than scary. Also, he was smoother than he has been in the past. He made a huge mistake saying he believed he might use the notwithstanding clause in the right circumstances; he tossed it up there for Martin to spike but then, luckily for Harper, nothing. Even though he was boring, so was the debate - though it was livelier than last time.

Funniest moment:
Duceppe, "What's bad for Canada, and Quebec, is not to talk about corruption it is not to talk about corruption." (Of course, he can speak english better than I can speak french; so maybe I should shutup now.)

Who won:
Well, I do not want to cop out on this, but it is going to sound like it. Martin displayed the most passion of all the leaders. Voters can connect with that. So in one sense Martin won the debate. However, he needed to deliver a knockout punch; and in my opinion he had two or three really good opportunities to do that and did not deliver. With no knock out punch the winnner is Harper. The sleeper here is Martin's ridiculous proposal to start another constitutional round. That is a dumb, dumb move that can backfire - particularly if he wins and has to deliver.

Harper did well enough that he is still in position to make some gains tomorrow. In fact he is probably in a better position. Martin needs to deliver the right passion tomorrow - it can work. Duceppe should keep his mouth shut, but Martin's constitutional proposal might open an opportunity for him. Layton should pretend it is the english language debate; he has nothing to gain in Quebec.