Thursday, 2 October 2008

Canadian 2008 Election Debate (English)

Tonight's English language election debate was the best I've ever seen! The round-table format worked well and the the firm but fair moderator really moved the process along, giving each candidate lots of opportunities to speak without many interruptions.

But the best part of the night was seeing Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May really shine! She was articulate and backed up her comments with facts and not just empty rhetoric. She took Stephen Harper to task on many topics, leaving him virtually speechless at times. She really showed what the Green Party is all about, and demonstrated that the party's platform is wide-ranging and practical. May really deserves to win a seat in Parliament, and I'm sure tonight's debate will help her well along the way to acheiving that goal.

I was kind of crushed after our most recent provincial election, and I've been trying not to get my hopes up about this one, but this debate has rekindled my hope that maybe, just maybe change is possible.... Get out and vote Canada!

Picture courtesy the CBC


SoapBoxTech said...

Hehe, I did not think you would post after the debate QUITE so quickly but I am glad you did!! I was a little bit displeased with the amount of talking over one another but I suppose, in fairness, it could have been a heck of a lot worse.

I thought Harper got his ass handed to him quite frankly. He contradicted himself several times. At one point early on, he said he acknowledges that there has been a net loss in jobs in Canada (in the last year, as I recall) and then went on to claim that the Conservatives have created more jobs than were lost (it was my impression that he meant this was in the same time frame). Perhaps I misheard him but I'm pretty sure it was just failed slick-talk. I know I heard 2 or 3 other blatant contradictions as well but I cannot remember them offhand at 3:30 am. Suffice it to say that I thought he really showed his colors as a mealy mouthed servant of the global corporate machine.

Ms. May was quite fascinating. I would say she landed the most blows against Harper and the Conservatives as well as parlaying the Green platform. My only real concern was her statement of wanting to see Canada's pulp and paper industry resuscitated. I would probably have overlooked this if there had been mention of resuscitating the paper industry through industrial hemp development...the ONLY sustainable feedstock for paper production.

I felt Dion came across as something of a poorly spoken and pouty child. In my opinion, the liberal party deserves the kind of fall that the PC party saw in the 90's. Basically, the Liberal and Conservative parties seem to be carbon copies of the US Democratic and Republican parties...two sides of the same coin.

I didn't understand a lot of what came out of Duceppe other than one or two blasts at Harper. I, for one, do not even understand why the Bloc is at the debate. Nothing against Quebec, I just don't understand why that is the only province represented specifically at the Federal level.

I felt Jack Layton probably came across best of all. He remained calm, polite and evenly spoken all the while directing strong challenges to the other leaders, primarily Mr. Harper. I doubt the NDP has much chance of more than being the minority opposition, but I do feel he is the strongest of the least when it comes to speaking.

I'm very glad I watched the debate. It did not change how I will vote but it HAD to be more interesting than watching the Idiot debate the Pawn, south of the border. I do find myself a little bit torn as to how to vote. I am leaning toward voting for the Green party but I very much worry about the common sense vote being split between the ND and the Greens, allowing the Libs and Cons to maintain the status quo.

On a side note...Naomi Klein (author of The Shock Doctrine) gave a brilliant interview on the Colbert Report tonite. Well worth a youtube search.

Peace all.

Theresa said...

I watched the Colbert Report after the debates, and Naomi Klein was indeed fantastic!

Theresa said...

Thanks SBT for your thorough review of the debate! I too was a bit surprized when May spoke about the pulp and paper industry more than once. From what I've read of the green party policies, anything they would recommend there would include sustainable forestry practices but that certainly wasn't made explicit last night.

I agree that Harper was the stand-out loser, and I don't think its just my anti-Conservative bias talking there. He really didn't express any specific ideas or plans, and completely wasted the extra time he asked for on the economy, in my opinion. And his condescending manner and insipid smile that never reaches his eyes is really quite creepy.

I was glad to hear someone finally mention that the economy and the environment are inextricably connected, and somewhat surprised that it was Gilles Duceppe who brought this up. I was quite impressed by him, actually. Too bad he's not a federalist.

I really felt that Dion was quite sincere and also very passionate at times. He seems to really care about Canada. And I don't think his English is all that bad, really.

Jack Layton had the best line of the night by far, with his question as to whether the Conservative platform was hidden under Harper's sweater vest! He is no doubt a good speaker, but I thought he was a bit too confrontational overall. He would be a good opposition leader.

I'm hoping that this debate has enough of an effect that we at least hold the Conservatives to a minority again. It will take a miracle for anyone to unseat the conservative candidate in my riding so I'm not worried about vote splitting here - I'm voting Green. If only we had a proportional representation system and then we wouldn't have to worry about the 'strategic' voting.

What with the debate and then an hour of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I had a great evening!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm the stereotypical independent voter, and in my estimation, Harper outdid them all, easily.

In terms of demeanor, both Duceppe and Dion at times came across as bordering on the hysterical, Layton comes across as a used car salesman, and Ms. May, I'm sorry, she just does not project much gravitas.

As far as content goes, again I see Harper as the winner, as he was the only one coming across as trying to appeal to anything but his/her core voter base. Believe me, I'm shocked to say this, but to this voter Harper was the one with the proverbial Big Tent. That's just wrong!

I don't know how I will vote - my riding is fairly strong Liberal territory so it may not even matter - but if I'm not misreading my fellow indie voters, I would say Harper is going to slightly increase his strength in parliament, possibly even squeak out a thin majority.

This is easily the most disappointing set of candidates (including Harper) that I've seen in Canada in long long time.

SoapBoxTech said...

What exactly is a stereotypical independent voter?

Amber said...

I thought May did a wonderful job at the debates! She is a strong, intelligent and thoughtful speaker. She made her points clearly and had the facts and information with her to support them. I loved when she called Harper a fraud!

Harper kept saying, "Let's be clear..." but for some reason much of what he said still didn't make any sense to me.

Dion impressed me as well. He came across as a bit conciliatory at times. But I found him sincere and I appreciated his emphasis on the environment. He is intelligent and I do believe that he cares about the average citizen.
In contrast to Harper who, as Jack Layton said, came across as cold, callous and out of touch with the people and their concerns about the economy.

Gilles Duceppe made many good points too. He really kept at Harper to answer questions that Harper tried to avoid, and I liked that he advocated for a polluter pays principle.

Theresa said...

Hi Anon - thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'm curious too as to what you mean by a "stereotypical independent voter", as SoapBox has asked.

In terms of widespread voter appeal, I see the environment as the biggest tent of all, since without a healthy and whole environment, nothing else matters or can function well in the long run, including the economy. So, I see the Conservatives as very small-tent, and Harper himself representing an even smaller tent than that, given his closed and rigid views.

As to Elizabeth May's projection of gravitas, maybe we have a different idea of what that means? I think she understands and conveys well the deep seriousness of the problems we face in the forms of climate change,economic downturn, and the decreasing availability of cheap fossil fuels. I just think most people don't understand that these are serious problems yet, especially the latter, and therefore dismiss them as side issues. For people like myself who see these as absolutely critical issues that are bearing down on us faster than we can adapt to them, we are thankful that someone has the guts to bring them up in a national forum like the debates.

Sadly, I agree with you that Harper could well eke out a majority. But he will have done this through fear-mongering, not by conveying a strong vision for the majority of Canadians.

Amber - yes, I had much the same impression as you did. It will be interesting to see how the polls turn out in the next few days. My mind is made up though and I'm off to the advance poll this afternoon to cast my vote!

SoapBoxTech said...

ahh ain't politics great. Theresa, Amber and I seem to agree on a great many things, yet on the political debates we disagree slightly. Not to be criticizing (I can't believe I couldn't spell that properly without spell check...) anyone's right to individual thinking, but I do feel that these slight differences between we who are aligned with a "service to others" mentality put us at a great disadvantage against those aligned with "service to self". For some reason, those who are STS aligned seem to have quite a unified front. Perhaps this is because destructive forces are inherently simpler than creative forces.

I'll take a moment to explain those terms. I got them from a very long book that I recently finished. The Secret History of the World, by Laura Knight-Jadczyk is a critical look at history as taught in text books and various religious, especially Christianity. She refers to consciousness in the universe as being aligned, through personal choice, with either Service to Self or Service to Others. I found several aspects of the book to be difficult to reconcile and accept, personally, but these "definitions" make a great deal of sense to me.

My thoughts aren't coming together very succinctly today so I will leave it at this for now.

Peace to all.

Theresa said...

This sounds interesting, SBT. Now that you mention it, the service-to-self people/groups do seem to be very good at organizing themselves to protect their own self-interests. People who are concerned about serving others more than themselves seem to be out there just doing stuff for others and don't have time (or the inclination) to organize collectively, at least not in a formal, structured fashion.

I take some comfort in the fact that highly organized structures seem to become brittle over time, subject to disintegration, whereas loosely organized and flexible associations can be more responsive and resilient when conditions change suddenly.