Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Leaders' debate

Watched our political leaders ‘debate’ tonight – a rather discouraging spectacle. While it didn’t descend into the infantile shenanigans of Parliamentary debate, it certainly was not inspiring.

What I found fascinating though was Stephen Harper’s constant denial of anything he did not agree with. This shouldn’t be surprising since it seems to be the way he and his party operate – to ignore what they disagree with and proceed as if they never heard any arguments contrary to their position. In this debate, whenever an accusation was made against him, his reply was inevitably, “that’s simply not true.”
The opposition would remind Harper that he had been found in contempt of Parliament. “That’s not true,” he’d say.

They’d note that he has slashed program funding in various areas. “That’s simply not true he’d say.”

He also kept claiming that he (and ‘Canadians’) did not want this election – he even acted as if he didn’t know why it had been called.

When Ignatieff would remind him that the election was called because the Conservatives had been found in contempt of Parliament, Harper would deny it, portraying the contempt finding as simply being ‘outvoted’ by the opposition.

Harper also kept talking about the negative, “bickering” nature of Parliament which was impeding his government from getting any real work done.

Ignatieff had a good comeback for that one – “it’s not bickering, it’s democracy” he said.

But that was the extent of it – a lot of accusations back at forth. Harper was calm and cool and actually did a good job at seeming to take the high road and using any chance he had to talk about his platform and positive points in the Conservative track record. Ignatieff seemed to struggle at times and was a bit of a broken record in his accusations against Harper, but he did get some good points across and at times actually seemed to take charge of the debate.

Ignatieff wanted listeners to think the election is only between Conservatives and Liberals (much to Layton’s annoyance). Harper preached a message of the need for a majority if we are to avoid such “bickering” and repeat elections. Both men were being disingenuous. A whole lotta spin.

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