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one anglophone’s recollections of the english version of the french debate


 

Format

The round table really seemed to work well. Turns out that picking a Prime Minister has a surprising amount in common with plugging a new movie on Charlie Rose.

Memorable Moments

Seven minutes in, Jack Layton raised his hand to get the moderator’s attention. This trumped Stephane Dion’s simultaneous, but subtler, raising of his finger to get the moderator’s attention. New NDP slogan: Jack Layton – A Strong Leader With Permission to Go to the Bathroom.

Later, Dion would boldly move from raising his finger to raising his hand to get a word in edgewise. But he seemed half-hearted about it. Never before have I felt so vindicated about having supported for the Liberal leadership the candidacy of Arnold Horshack.

Gilles Duceppe kept mentioning “Kyoto.” This is the political equivalent of an entertainment journalist repeatedly bringing up Rick Springfield.

With several leaders talking at the same time, the moderator stepped in early to “avoid a four-way.” As distressing as it was to imagine four of our federal leaders engaged in “a four-way,” it was at the same time fascinating to ponder which one would be left out and forced to watch. My strong hunch: Dion. You think it’s easy to make orgy?

Apparently, the Liberals have a 30-day plan to fix the economy. “We have to act within the 30 days,” Stephane Dion said. Some would later scoff, but Dion had a solid point: My fellow Canadians – if we do not act within the 30 days, the pizza is free.

I’m not an expert on body language, but it seems to me that Stephen Harper spent most of the debate fighting the urge to pick up that big maple leaf in the middle of the table and use it to beat Gilles Duceppe into a franco-coma.

Elizabeth May launched a powerful attack on Harper’s climate-change plan: “If Mr. Harper takes us down his path, we are on the path to destruction.” I kind of zoned out during Harper’s reply, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with us all being saved by Bruce Willis and Aerosmith.

There was a nice moment when, during the otherwise cringe-making “say-something-nice” segment, Layton stared into Dion’s eyes and Dion stared back. And at that moment the unity of Canada was strengthened beyond measure by the sound of 84,903 livebloggers, from coast to coast to coast, making the exact same Brokeback Mountain joke.

I was absolutely enraptured by the necklace worn by Elizabeth May. It was so big and elaborate, but I guess it would have to be to house the party’s only shot at winning seats: the Hypno-ray™. In an unrelated story, I  feel an urge to trade in my car for some ethanol-powered roller skates.

By my count, it was at 9:22 p.m. ET that Stephen Harper set the all-time worldwide record among political figures for forced grins at one event, surpassing the mark set by Hillary Clinton every single day since she started saying Barack Obama would be a great president.

Quotable Quotes

Stephen Harper: “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” This being the one millionth time the Conservative Leader has said this during the campaign, there was a brief pause in the debate for confetti and cake.

Gilles Duceppe: “…there could be tax credits for taxi drivers, for farmers, for fishermen, for seasonal workers…” … for mimes, for puppies, for large-breasted women, for fictional characters, for hugs…

Harper: “I personally support the arts and culture.” REO Speedwagon is Canadian, right?

Moderator: “Stephane, you raised your hand, I’ll recognize you.” And thus was born the revised title of the Liberal party’s election platform: Raising Our Hands Politely For Canada!

Harper: “We’re all concerned about the future of the planet. My children need to be able to live on a planet that’s livable.” As for everyone else’s children, well, there are many caves.


 

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