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Post-debate thoughts

April 13, 2011 @ 13:09 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

So, like many people, I watched the 2011 election debate yesterday evening. Predictably, it was us-versus-them — or from Harper’s point of view them-versus-me — for much, but not all, of the debate.I think this would have been true regardless of who was Prime Minister because the opposition’s goal is to unseat the incumbent party in an election so they can afford to risk more.

At some point over the course of the two hours, each of the leaders made at least one good point, even the separtist leader, though what Harper’s “good point” was escapes me. His continued denial of the legitimacy of being found in contempt of Parliament continues to baffle me. He once again claimed that it really wasn’t legitimate and that it was just the other three parties ganging up on him.

I’m sorry, Mr. Harper, but the majority of elected representatives in the House of Commons found you and your government in contempt of Parliament. You may not like it, but that’s the way democracy is sometimes, particularly when you obfuscate and lie in the House.

There was some mud slinging, but not an excessive amount. Harper didn’t really get involved in that, but as the incumbent Prime Minister and being in a precarious position as a result of the contempt and the Auditor General’s report that says they lied to Parliament about the G8/G20 funds, among other things, he couldn’t afford to because it would be a guarantee no-win situation.

Prior to the debate, the gap between the Liberals and Conservatives had been steadily closing. Post-debate polls seem to suggest the gap has increased. Hopefully that’s just a blip and the previous trend continues because with all that has gone on while Harper has been in power I am baffled as to why people would support him. Why would someone want to continue to have a governing party that has repeatedly obfuscated and lied to Parliament, second guessed, gagged and fired commissioners for doing their job (Linda Keen who was fired when she put safety first at Chalk River and the CRTC are two that spring to mind), ignored facts when they inconveniently did not support their actions (building new prisons when the crime statistics don’t indicate a need), and generally turning Canada into another United States (more prisons, and  excessively expensive military jets (NB: I do not have a problem with equiping our military to do their job properly, but the cost of the F35s seems excessively high and not well understood.), to name a couple).

The Squid has an excellent blog post as to why a vote for someone other than the Liberals is effectively a vote for the Conservatives that I encourage you to read, regardless of your politics. I can understand why someone might want to vote NDP, Green or Bloc, but those votes will just end up being votes for the Conservatives. If you don’t want to see the Conservatives back in power, then vote Liberal. If you do want to see the Conservatives back in power, ask yourself why you’re supporting a government that was found in contempt of Parliament and has lied to Canadians.

2 Responses to “Post-debate thoughts”


  1. Paul says:

    They continue to support him because he was the only one there who wasn’t slinging mud or talking down to others. There were few comments made by the other leaders that didn’t involve taking a jab at someone.

    Prime example? Layton and Ignatief. Layton slams the Liberals for being in power so long without delivering and Ignatief comes back with a childish retort.

    Layton ‘implementing doctors’ got me. I like Layton, I think he’s got some great ideas for Canada but he doesn’t ground them in reality with enough information to make me believe it is going to happen. If he had paired his comments about immigration with ‘implementing doctors’, he’d have had more ground to stand on. (i.e. you don’t ‘implement doctors’ they require years of training, they don’t take days…unless you were helping immigrant doctors catch up or follow standards of practice in Canada – there’s a viable supply.)

    Most things coming out of Ignatief had price tags involved without him saying where the money was going to come from. I like the ideas, but who is going to pay for them? More taxes? Bigger deficit?

    Despite the fact that I like how Harper presented himself (minus the odd smiles at weird times), I don’t like how he’s incapable of working with the other parties. It seems he’s attempting to package too many things together, including some items the other parties are strongly opposed to, and suggesting it’s all or nothing.

    I also don’t like how ‘accountability’ was a word previously used in his winning platform but they’ve suddenly forgotten the word, let alone it’s meaning.

    I’m not really confident in any of the above.

    Ideally, I’d like a Conservative budget (come on – the government needs to plan and budget for the military – get it in the budget now, plan ahead!), Liberal leadership (more open minded and willing to cooperate) with NDP guidance (focus on Canadians and quality of life in Canada).

    I think voters have asked for this sort of thing several times in a row, but they just can’t get along.

    • gordon says:

      Yeah… Ignatief’s retort to Layton was disappointing.

      I’m not sure you can say that Harper wasn’t talking down to others, though. He was definitely walking that very fine line and occasionally stepped over. He was cautious, that’s for sure.

      But if you look at many of the Conservative ads that were released once the writ was dropped, you can’t call them anything but negative.

      Accountability is a word that I’m fairly certain isn’t in Harper’s dictionary.

      WRT military spending: I agree that the government needs to plan and budget properly for the military. Cheaping out on the military can cost lives and will cost more in the mid- and long-terms. Your ideal government, Paul, is probably what many people are looking for — it’s pretty much what I would like to see.

      One of the debate questions was about Canada’s reputation internationally. I believe it was Ignatief, but it could have been Layton, who pointed out that Canada lost its seat on the Security Council under Harper, something which hasn’t happened before. I think that caught Harper off guard because I don’t recall him really responding to it before bridging to whatever it was he wanted to talk about.

      People need to look beyond the inevitable mudslinging in a leader’s debate, especially now, and look at what the leaders are actually saying. Status quo isn’t going to cut it this time.



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