– I’m a big fan of the new debate format. A single question, followed by a 1-on-1 between two party leaders for 6(?) minutes and then broadened to a 4-way for another 6-minutes. The 1-on-1 allows real policy to be debated, mostly because two adults cannot continuously yell at each other for longer than two minutes. The 4-way satisfies those that want to see the finger-pointing. The key difference this time? Its that the 1-on-1 policy discussion sets the stage first, such that the resulting finger-pointing organically grows out of that discussion. The result highlights the difference between the parties, makes the choices starker and, ultimately, allows citizens to grasp at something tangible that should help them make their voting decision. It also doesn’t make me feel like rushing the stage with a shotgun and leaving only Steve Paikin (the moderator) alive.
– I wish I didn’t have to vote for Stephen Harper, but the man knows how to make his case.
– Ignatieff is a strangely weak debater. I think it might be on purpose because he wants to come across as an everyman. Even then, he is seeming to have trouble stringing sentences together. Wasn’t he in the debating club? Yes.
– The studio where the debate is being held is seriously trippy.
– I’ve watched every debate since the 2004 election. This is the first one where I’ve felt that Gilles Duceppe is not the strongest debater, and in fact, am quite unimpressed. Interesting to me is, regarding the issue of reasonable accommodation, his statement that multiculturalism doesn’t work for Quebec (an outcome apparently of the Taylor-Bouchard Commission). I don’t understand this new-found xenophobia sweeping Quebec. If we’ve learned anything from Canada’s 144 year history, which involved the sometime tumultuous balancing of the English-speaking majority vs. the French-speaking minority, its the ultimate evolution of Canada into its present-day state of a culture of acceptance and tolerance was driven by the desire that minority rights be respected; a desire that was fought for by many Quebeckers. Is the shoe now on the proverbial other foot? Theoretically, what does this mean for the kind of country he views a separate Quebec should be, given that the majority will be French-speaking? Are Quebeckers on board with that? Is he?
– The problem with the NDP and its continual marginalization from being a serious contender for power is epitomized by Jack Layton’s performance. He preaches to the choir and doesn’t attempt to persuade the vast majority of Canadians who don’t support him. In fact, he doesn’t even attempt to persuade the pool of voters who are otherwise left wing, but currently don’t vote for NDP. This is my gut feeling.
– Elizabeth May: Thank god she wasn’t in the debate. I didn’t think she contributed anything last time around and, in fact, was one of the prime reasons why that debate was so cacophonous. Nor do I believe a party that has no representation in Parliament should be in the debate. Does it make it harder for them to get elected to Parliament in the first place? Yes. Does it entrench the parties that are already in Parliament? Yes.
– Steve Paikin should moderate every debate. Everywhere. Not just in Canada.
*UPDATED: Youtube has the full two hour bonanza