Monday, January 09, 2006

Live Blogging the Debate

Instead of making lots of posts in backwards order, I'm just gonna re-edit and add to the end of this post. Keep that F5 finger flexed.

Paul Martin is proposing to somehow do away with the notwithstanding clause. This is the dumbest shit I've heard so far, unless he wants to change the constitution. He's trying to prevent a future governemnt from carrying out some action. But there's nothing stopping a future government could just reverse that. It's stupid.

There's a bit of a gangbang going on with the Conservative financial backers thing. The moderator went around to each of the other leaders and asking them if they knew who Harper's contributors were. They all took turns kicking harper on cue.

Paul Martin always looks flusterd.

Gilles Duceppe is in his usual position of not having much to lose so he can take the high ground and make the others look like children. The questions he's being asked are things like the nature of parliamentary government and Quebec's role in it.

Martin: "Do I think the current government needs fixing? Yes I absolutely do." -- that's an out of context quote waiting to happen.

Jack Layton said flatly "Canadians want their electoral system fixed." Funny how Canadians haave consistently voted against such measures. Sure there were reasons, but to divine the will of "Canadians" is pretty disingenuous.

Social Policy Debate

Harper is repeating the word 'criminal' over and over. He must have been told that that word gets focus groups knobs twisting.

Good for Duceppe for talking about the root causes of crime. Though the particular cases cited have more to do with organized crime and drugs than poverty.

"Concrete steps, not more press conferences, somethign that would produce real results." Layton. Talking about arming border officers is just a little too out of place.

Martin is playing the "we all agree on everything" game, hoping people will just vote for the Liberals by default. Paul Martin just compared Toronto to Detroit. He's not mentioning that Washington, D.C. has a handgun ban as well.

Harper is talking about 'deterrent effects' of tougher sentences and mandatory minimum sentences. Duceppe is pointout out what bullshit this is. Talking about what police officers in his own community are doing is bringing a noticeable amount of reality into the discussion.

Can I vote for the Bloc?

This 'patient guarantee' business is such crap. Which two cities in different provinces are close enough together to allow for this free flow of patients to better hospitals? Pretty much just between Ottawa and Hull. Maybe people in Lloydminster will think this is a practical idea.

Layton's pharmacare program proposal seems like it's necessary but he's not saying what a clusterfuck the American system is.

He's asking Jack Layton about legalizing 'swingers clubs' because they don't cause harm. He's not dignifying the question by answering it. Good. It was a no-win question where either you're in favour of smut or repressive government.

Harper wants to get back into the bedrooms of the nation by saying he might pass a new law to deal with this court decision. Though he was correct to say that it's not a constitutional matter.

The leaders are now realizing that they're going to have to not bother with the questions to get their digs in. "I don't believe that Canada was built on American conservative values... America is our neighbour and not our nation." Not bad.

Duceppe is good about bringing up the fact that you can't legislate against a changing society.

The 'I'm more Canadian than you' debate has been played out previous to this debate. They have their answers to each accusation already prepared. Layton is a good foil for the fact that Martin is the one taking Canada's economy closer to the US.

"It's election time, you can always tell the way [martin] approaches these issues with so much passion." - Layton. "He wanted to give money to the big oil companies and the big banks, and not a cent for aboriginals and poorer families. .. It was the NDP who got the results for working people." Very nice quote.

I kind of like teh way Duceppe and Layton are realizing almost by accident that they agree on the social democratic platform. I'd totally go v for a BQ / NDP coalition government.

Anyone who's ever paid for childcare knows that $100 a month won't pay for a babysitter for one day a week. This is garbage.

I like the flexible debate format, where the moderator can bring people back to things that seemed to spark interesting debates. The limited response is better than the last debate, but still kind of insulating.

Layton is making sure to smack each of the two major party leaders at once, good job. "It's a shell game" referring to the Conservatives' plan to cut the GST and hike other taxes.

Harper is trying to avoid the fact that he's raising income tax by saying "The lowest income-earners in teh country don't pay income tax." That's the same line George W. Bush uses to avoid the fact that his tax cuts screwed over the middle and working classes.

Martin takes a question about the tough times faced by individual farmers and talks about international trade. Makes him sound removed from actual farmers' concerns. Layton is jumping on this, telling a story about an individual farmer. The fact that the agricultural economy is just untenable is totally true.

"The Liberals were too ashamed to vote against the farm bill proposed by the Bloc."

It sounds like Harper is just supporting an income band-aid for farmers.

The 'supply management' duscussion is a bit too jargonified for most voters.

Layton pointing out that Martin and Harper got together to propose a budget with a huge corporate tax cut is another good swipe at both. The Conservatives were livid when the NDP knocked that down. He's intimidated by the social democratic-sounding other three leaders in this debate. (the two real ones and martin the fake one.)

This is a bit esoteric but I'm kind of creeped out by Martin's citing the Bank of Canada's statement that children should be put into institutionalized learning environments as early as possible. I'd rather they talk about the fact that families need two incomes to support themselves these days and thus a universal child care system is needed so badly.

Good for Gilles Duceppe for holding Martin to the cuts he made as finance minister that he's making promises about to try and fix in this election.

The equalization debate is a no-winner for anyone. Harper's raising a good point about the fact that provinces and cities are having a hard time covering services while the federal government has huge surpluses.

"Municipalities are a provincial jurisdiction." Good on Duceppe for not jumping on the federal power creep bandwagon.

Layton should find a way to talk about cities more, he's the only one with any real credibility on the subject as a city counsellor, etc.

Talking about quebec as an 'asset' and not a socity is going to turn off some people.

Martin's and Harper's insisting that Quebecers share the same values as the rest of the country is pretty condescending. You wouldn't say that Albertans or any other province is a clone of any other, and objectively speaking Quebec is certainly more different than the others.

Dear Paul Martin: Canada doesn't have a 'national government', it has a 'federal government'. There's an important difference between the two and it's kind of creepy that he wants to call it 'national'.

The closing statements were pretty uninspiring. Layton should still acknowledge that, even though it might not be likely to happen, that the NDP would still make, in his view, the best government and he the best prime minister. And the Bloc's attacks on something most people haven't heard of at the very end are just confusing to most people.
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By al - 9:21 p.m. |

Martin looks like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
I think watching this is the television equivilant of seeing how long you can hold your hand over a flame
Did Jack layton just pull a George W Bush on the question swinger clubs? He pretty much ignored the questioned and answered about health care.

It's kinda like when they were trying to brainwash Homer and he said that he prefers to make up his own plot and story if a movie bores him. Maybe Layton is listening to a more interesting debate?
Jack Layton drinking game:
Every time he says third option or anything like that, take a shot.
Hey guys--I just got home, but nice to see I can get the recap from my favorite source.

I just got my button maker in the mail today, so let me know if you want "Vote Immortals' Co-opt" or "Vote Ananas" pins!
I believe the button should say "My Canada includes Ananas"
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