Thursday, October 02, 2008

Harper wins by surviving, Layton scores big, May surprises, Duceppe charms, Dion okay

A fascinating federal party leaders' debate ended with one beat up winner, a happy second place finisher and some consolation prizes.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the Timex Torture Test winner - he took a licking and kept on ticking. For that he ekes out a bare win - not by impressing voters a lot but by not losing.

New Democrat leader Jack Layton has to be happy - he outperformed the other leaders for the most part and he had the two best lines of the night - chiding Harper about his missing Conservative party platform and then blasting Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

“You can't do your job as leader of the Opposition. I don't know what you're doing running for prime minister,” Layton rocked Dion.

To Harper: "Where's the platform, under the sweater?"

Green Party leader Elizabeth May showed that all her efforts to get into the debate after being excluded originally were well worthwhile. Even if she had just shown up she would have been ahead but May put in a credible performance and bashed Harper several times, while he ignored her completely throughout the night other than to smile uncomfortably.

Gilles Duceppe had some very funny lines and was relaxed, knowing that his political fortunes - unlike the other four leaders - did not depend on the English language debate.

"I know I won't be prime minister, and three of you won't be prime minister neither. Some of you know it, but you won't say it," shrugged Duceppe with deadly accuracy.

Earlier Duceppe remarked with obvious irony that the Bloc Quebecois was the only party with a "Made In Canada" pledge!

Dion was clearly earnest and at times passionate. When he said of Stephen Harper - "Don't trust this man!" - he meant it.

But Dion was mostly sidelined and for at least the first part of the debate his lack of facility in English hurt him.

He didn't do anything terribly wrong but he need to hit a few Manny Ramirez style home runs. Getting a few walks and singles won't put the beleaguered Liberals back in the game.

Now the election enters the end game. Harper, having lost his chance at picking up a lot of extra seats in Quebec from the Bloc, must concentrate on Southern Ontario and the 905 area code belt outside Toronto.

If the Conservatives are going to win a majority - as I expect they will at this point - it will be because of a Liberal collapse in Ontario.

But with 11 days of campaigning left, there is still room for significant change to happen - and no more debates to focus attention.


Anonymous said...

As you know I hate them all, but I do agree with your call.

Layton was the most engaging of the bunch.

But I liked the US debates better.

Palin knows nothing of the US Constitution, the Presidency and the roll of the three levels of their federal government.

That said, if I needed a motivational trainer for Mary K cosmetics salespeople . . . I would hire Sarah Palin.


Anonymous said...

I found the debate pretty much like watching/listening to news talk shows. No mention of national security, or the fight against terrorism/organised crime, the dysfunctional human rights comm.!?
I thought Elisabeth May secured a place for the Green Party, in Canadian politics, and if Harper wins a majority, I hope they do away with the senate and put the money into homeland security,
God knows we need it!

DPL said...

Duceppe is in the house to represent the people of Quebec and most folks should know that.He has no interest in being PM. Some of the social programs in that province are pretty good.

Dion has some problems with English but is no fool. His English beats Harpers French hands down. I think of Nelson Mandella, because he is almost impossible to understand when speaking English. But that guy does pretty good in the world. Dion is well educated, he is passionate in his opinions, so lets cut him some slack. May likes to use words like fraud a lot, what else has she got going for her? Layton is good and fast. So it's a toss up. Are we going to fall for Harper's new sweater and actually walking his kid to school, probrably for the first and last time. The guy isn't a fraud, he's definitly a phoney. He looks like some professional gambler sitting there waiting to see who has the best cards. Lyin Birian tried the carm school method but steve boy would never pass that school. acctually he looks more like a slug than anyhting else. But a lot of big money is behind him.

Bill Tieleman said...

Looks like polling shows my view was shared by most Canadians!

"Poll gives nod to Harper, with Layton second

Canwest News Service
Thursday, October 02, 2008

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper came out ahead of his political opponents in the English-language leaders debate Thursday night, but New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton was a formidable match for the prime minister, according to viewers who answered a survey during the broadcast.

The online Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National found 31 per cent of voters said Harper won the debate, and Layton was second with 25 per cent. In third place was the newcomer to the leaders' debates, Green Leader Elizabeth May, with 17 per cent of respondents saying she was the winner, followed by the opposition leader, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, with 15 per cent."


Anonymous said...

Now that the debate is over, will all the so-called 'lefts' consider joining forces to defeat Harper be considered? Somehow? Anyone? It is depressing to think that we will still be under Harpers influence and his ridiculous pandering to the corporate God after all this.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:55,

Yes, it was so obvious -- the 4 other people around that debate table are totally opposed to Harper, his Conservative party, and his agenda.

the math was right there. Four to one = winning.

The 4 parties surely can see that. Jeez, folks (Dion, Layton, Duceppe, May), join force! work together and boot the NeoCons through the goalposts.

Then pick up the ball, head for the showers, have a beer, and decide what to do next. Make us ALL happy.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the electorate can somehow assure the party leaders that we will follow them with our vote if they decide to join forces. Yes, I am ready to vote strategically to rid this country of our blue-blooded Harper. Any party seems better than conservative.

Anonymous said...

9:55 makes a very good point about the real majority so did May.

Layton pointed out though that Dion's lib's had the clout for a non-confidence vote many times but saved their own skins and threw us on the alter instead.

Dion can't lead by the looks of things and the trust issue has not gone away for the lib's so they better partner up with Layton this time.

May made some intriguing comments and was the most likely to resonate with people looking for an alternative.

Layton did well while resuming his candour that was missing early in the race. For a while I thought he was he trying to pick a fight? Anyway people fed up with the lib's might go Jack or May.

Duceppe can be smart and funny whether on the campaign trail or in the house. And he does speak up for Canadians so overall he did well considering...

Harper did great really when you consider he is da man and took it hard from all quarters without throwing one chair during the whole debate thingy. In fact he just let the accusations for the most part fly by and rode the polls.

...with glowing hearts...

Anonymous said...

I was put off by Layton’s disrespectful tone and mocking attacks. Personally I thought the comment making fun of the sweater was not what I expect of my future PM. May was great and it is obvious why Layton fought hard to keep her out of the debate. Layton needs to learn from Duceppe who was able to attack Harper effectively on facts and not clothes. Dion was just plain bizarre. I agree with Tielman’s call; Harper won.

Anonymous said...

Anon 920,

Harper lost the debate and the election in the first 30 seconds.

He was the first to speak and he blew it.

A real statesman would've used that opportunity to set the tone. And anyone would expect his tone would be that of a wise, caring Prime Minister of whom we could all be proud even if we are not Reform/Alliance/Socred/CCRAP/or NeoConservatives like him. But no.

He leaned across the table and pugnaciously accused Dion (or was it Layton?) of something ...

It was so startlingly off-putting that I can't recall the accusation or who it was aimed at. He was one angry dude ready to play dirty to get his way. It was aggression entirely uncalled-for, because at that point the debate hadn't even started.

We shouldn't overlook that image.

That brief display of Mr Ugly was way too much for me. For the rest of the 2-hour debate, he sat with a glazed smile and offered no comfort to the worried citizens of the nation.

Nope, that man lost, lost, lost everywhichway you look at it.


Anonymous said...

With news of the stock market continuing to freeze-up, Stephen Harper just keeps sailing the unsinkable Canadian economy into the iceberg.

With no plan, no vision other than stay the course . . . Stephen Harper reminds me of the arrogance and stupidity of Canada's other "great" Tory leader . . . R. B. Bennett, who from 1930-35 put the boots to 25% of every living Canadian.

And of course, Herbert Hoover in 1929 set the course for other Republicans like George W. Bush & John McCain by giving the Great Depression its chance to spread around the world.


macadavy said...

Bill, I wouldn't be too quick to call it for Harper. Greg Morrow, a high-respected (and deadly accurate) expat canuck prognosticator sees it differently here:

DPL said...

The polls are starting to slide and folks are suddenly interested in the economy. Folks with private pensions are getting nervous as Steve keeps telling them all is well, even as economists say differently. One expert said today that Steve knew things were starting to slide and hoped to get the election behind him before anyone noticed. Too bad Steve, folks do notice. BC might actually mean something in this election, but each election that's said. Turn on the TV as soon as the BC polls are closed and we then know who will rule us for a few months has always been the case.

SaltSpring said...

I agree with you, but you need to say something about strategic voting in those ridings where there is no NDP candidate. We here in Saanich and the Islands, for eample, could defeat Lunn - one of the truly worst of the CRAP shooters - if the ABC people all backed Bryony Penn. Best if Layton leads the opposition to a minority government doncha think?

Anonymous said...

Leyton sounded like a petulant child. Get ready for a massive Conservative majority, pinkos!