liveblog - Canadian Leadership Debate - Day 1 - liveblog – Canadian Leadership Debate – Day 1

  • 4:53 PM Philippe Gohier – Our entire political team—including Paul Wells, Andrew Coyne, Kady O’Malley, Aaron Wherry and John Geddes—will be here at 8 PM tonight to provide analysis of tonight’s leadership debate as it happens. Check back often.
  • 7:57 PM Aaron Wherry – Greetings from the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa. Kady and I are here, sitting in front of a flat screen TV with the sound turned off. Perhaps we’ll fix that before the debate begins. Perhaps we won’t.
  • 8:01 PM Martin Patriquin – Round table! How quaint.
  • 8:01 PM Chris Selley – CTV informs us there is to be no touching –no touching!– by the candidates of other candidates during the debate. Mike Duffy suggests this rule is aimed at Elizabeth May.
  • 8:02 PM Andrew Potter – Winner gets to do a dance around the table and kiss the maple leaf in the middle, Igali-style.
  • 8:03 PM Aaron Wherry – Canada is not the United States. Glad we’ve got that cleared up.
  • 8:03 PM Andrew Potter – BTW, Geddes won’t be with us. I have permission from his wife to blog on his behalf.
  • 8:04 PM Martin Patriquin – Dion was in under 45 seconds. First time in history. I checked.
  • 8:04 PM Andrew Potter – Liz May’s French isn’t as good as Howard Dean’s.
  • 8:06 PM Martin Patriquin – Duceppe: “There are two economies in Canada.” In theory, he shouldn’t really care about this.
  • 8:06 PM Andrew Potter – Quebec is getting screwed, by who? Oil, and the anti-culture vote.
  • 8:07 PM Martin Patriquin – Damn right you are watching about your RRSPs, Duceppe. Retyirement’s right around the corner, right?
  • 8:07 PM Chris Selley – Australian translator. Nice touch.
  • 8:08 PM Kady O’Malley – Okay, that was discombobulating – we – Colleague Wherry and I – are in the English media room, which was supposed to have an English-only feed – but somehow, that turned into several English feeds, each of which slightly out of synch with the other, resulting in utter cacophony for the first few seconds of the debate, and utter confusion amongst the journalists present.

    It seems to be fixed now – well, sort of – but we’re all a bit out of synch ourselves. Not helping, too, is the choice of intrepreters; they do have a female for Elizabeth May, but the other four are all being voiced by frustratingly-similar sounding men. Well, other than the Australian, which makes me giggle for obvious reasons. (He’s the moderator, alas; clearly, the
    Consortium doesn’t have the same sense of whimsy as ITQ would demonstrate, were she in charge of assigning aural stand-ins.)

  • 8:10 PM Philippe Gohier – Is anyone surprised Dion’s the only one raising his hand?
  • 8:13 PM Aaron Wherry – Elizabeth May’s primary advantage when it comes to discussing economic hardship: she’s the only one at the table who doesn’t have a big MP pension awaiting her.
  • 8:14 PM Philippe Gohier – I’m wishing I had a translated feed for Elizabeth May right now, and I’m a Francophone.
  • 8:14 PM Kady O’Malley – You know, I’m really not sure about this format. I’m an oldfashioned girl – I like lecterns. Oak lecterns, even. This hybrid talkshow/panel setup is making it hard to follow the conversation, especially given the unfamiliar voices. Well, also, the camera keeps leaping around. Too often, you can’t actually tell who is talking.

    I do like the giant Maple Leaf in the middle of the table, though. Not sure about Elizabeth May’s vaguely Aztec pendant, however.

  • 8:14 PM Chris Selley – I like the roundtable format. They’re closer together, able to fix their steely gazes–okay, mostly Harper–at each other.
  • 8:15 PM Martin Patriquin – Harper has set himself up for the night with the ‘everything’s fine, we aren’t the U.S.’ He’ll be a pin cushion from here on in.
  • 8:17 PM Andrew Potter – This is interesting. Harper asked for this — a huge chunk of time just on the economy. If he can rope-a-dope his way through it, he’ll be looking for the rest of it. It’s a pretty bold gambit, given the audience for this debate.
  • 8:17 PM Kady O’Malley – Harper looks aggrieved. Why is he alone on one side of the table? Actually, Elizabeth May is there too, but as far away from him as she can get without being in the next room.
  • 8:19 PM Chris Selley – Did I follow that from Layton correctly? We’ve never been in more debt, so we need to lower credit card interest rates? Any behavioral psychologists in the audience?
  • 8:19 PM Aaron Wherry – Layton’s primary strength isn’t making sense. It’s looking very sure of himself.
  • 8:20 PM Martin Patriquin – Self-plug time: Jack still looks the same…
  • 8:20 PM Martin Patriquin –
  • 8:20 PM Martin Patriquin – Sorry, here it is.
  • 8:20 PM Kady O’Malley – “Slight challenges”? That’s rather optimistic on the part of the Prime Minister, but I guess it’s better than the reverse.

    The Dion voice is markedly deeper than the other three interpreters, by the way. That must be a wildly high-pressure gig, when you think about it. If you screw up just one word, you could lose someone an election.

  • 8:21 PM Philippe Gohier – This has to be one of the first debates where someone gets hammered for cutting income taxes.
  • 8:22 PM Philippe Gohier – They let Hugo Chavez ask questions? (Nationalize the oil industry???)
  • 8:23 PM Andrew Potter – N-E-P! N-E-P!
  • 8:23 PM Martin Patriquin – @ Phil: That’s New Brunswick for you.
  • 8:23 PM Andrew Coyne – Nationalization of the oil industry? Only in Quebec…
  • 8:24 PM Andrew Coyne – I said before the event that I thought Elizabeth May had “Joe Clark French.” I was wrong. She has Diefenbaker French.
  • 8:24 PM Martin Patriquin – Hey Liz, is that pendant bulletproof?
  • 8:24 PM Andrew Potter – Current price of gas in venezuela: 12 cents a gallon
  • 8:24 PM Chris Selley – Duceppe: Nationalize the oil industry? Madness! Next they’d be after our hydro!
  • 8:25 PM Andrew Coyne – By the way, now that I’m online, I LOVE the round-table format. People calm down and are much more conversational around a table. The problem remains that we’ve got five leaders..
  • 8:25 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: It’s over for the economy, says the moderator. Now, that’s not very supporti– oh, he meant as a *topic*. Phew. I was going to have to point him at the PM’s sanguine reassurance that the challenges are “slight”. (BTW, apologies for the inadvertantly anonymous posts earlier; I thought the software was magically adding it. Apparently not.)
  • 8:26 PM Philippe Gohier – Still, I like the idea of making Harper defend the idea of *not* nationalizing the oil industry. The question was worth it for that alone.
  • 8:26 PM Aaron Wherry – How many times did Mr. Harper shrug in answering that question? I counted at least 17.
  • 8:27 PM Kady O’M
    alley –
    Kady O’Malley: The PM is looking a little tense. You’d think he’d love a question like this – I mean, “Will you nationalize the energy sector?” In Calgary, that’s a surefire standing-O-getter.
  • 8:29 PM Chris Selley – John Howard reference! Drink!
  • 8:29 PM Andrew Potter – Yeah Kady, there must be tens of francophone votes there.
  • 8:29 PM Andrew Coyne – Should the John Howard reference not be a drinking game?
  • 8:29 PM Andrew Coyne – Whoops — that was Selley’s point..
  • 8:29 PM Philippe Gohier – I had a shot. What are you waiting for, Andrew?
  • 8:30 PM Martin Patriquin – I’m already drunk — on love.
  • 8:30 PM Philippe Gohier – What Marty meant to say is we’re liveblogging this together.
  • 8:30 PM Aaron Wherry – Kady’s on her ninth Red Bull.
  • 8:31 PM Philippe Gohier – Today? Or since the debate started?
  • 8:31 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Aaron has coffee! Starbucks coffee, even!
  • 8:32 PM Chris Selley – Harper looks positively prime ministerial listening to what I can only assume he considers undiluted drivel from Ms. May.
  • 8:33 PM Philippe Gohier – He might even give her his patented one-handed hug before the night is over.
  • 8:33 PM Chris Selley – No! No touching!
  • 8:33 PM Kady O’Malley – Wait – do English voters really not usually watch the French debate? *Really?* I always thought everyone out there diligently watched both — or neither.
  • 8:35 PM Aaron Wherry – Harper seems determined to speak as little as possible.
  • 8:35 PM pwells – Test…late arriving guy…
  • 8:36 PM Kady O’Malley – I miss the matching red ties of 2006.
  • 8:37 PM Aaron Wherry – So Harper’s defense on the listeria deaths is that he, unlike the others, recognized there were problems, he just didn’t get around to fixing them before 20 people were dead?
  • 8:37 PM Andrew Coyne – It’s often said that when we speak in another language, we play a role. Harper’s voice is quite different in French than in English — higher in register, more modulated…
  • 8:37 PM Aaron Wherry – And now it’s a Liberal who wrote the CMAJ editorial.
  • 8:38 PM Andrew Coyne – Maybe he is..
  • 8:38 PM Aaron Wherry – Unbelievable.
  • 8:38 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Ooh! Suddenly, it feels like Parliament!
  • 8:39 PM Andrew Coyne – Yet another environmental regulatory agency? Did I hear that right? Only in Quebec…
  • 8:40 PM Philippe Gohier – Alright, that’s it, Andrew. I’m filing a human rights complaint.
  • 8:41 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Okay, Duceppe finally seems to have woken up. He didn’t win any votes in Alberta with that tirade, but somehow, he doesn’t seem fussed.
  • 8:41 PM Chris Selley – Lead
  • 8:41 PM Andrew Potter – AC: The real Joanne Chianello had a neat column on this the other day in the Ottawa Citizen — an interview with Dion’s speech coach. Notice how both Dion and Duceppe have much deeper voices in French.
  • 8:41 PM Paul Wells – The “Liberal” in question would be Amir Attiran, the lead author o f the CMAJ editorial, who apparently gave Dion $200 in his leadership campaign.
  • 8:42 PM Martin Patriquin – “My kids need a planet where they can live.”
  • 8:42 PM Andrew Coyne – Lead author of the editorial in question is none other tha“““““`r““d“n Amir Attaran.
  • 8:42 PM Andrew Potter – This is why — if I may return to my traditional rant on these occasions — it’s wrong to have these segregated debates, Englsh and French kept rigidly separate. The French debate is not a national debate, that happens to be in French. It’s the Quebec debate. There is no reason we could not have bilingual debates: English the first hour, French the second, with simultaneous translation throughout. So the whole country watches, and the leaders have to talk to the whole country…I
  • 8:43 PM Paul Wells – Harper’s calling everyone by their first names. Did anyone note that already? It’s part of his Cuddle Offensive. Next thing you know he’ll have a cello.
  • 8:43 PM Martin Patriquin – My whole country *is* watching, Andrew.
  • 8:43 PM Philippe Gohier – Or perhaps they could all take lessons from Justin Trudeau and speak in both languages at the same time.
  • 8:43 PM Aaron Wherry – Too bad there weren’t half a dozen other names on that editorial. And the CMAJ didn’t publish at least two other pieces pointing out errors in the system.
  • 8:44 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: “Laissez faire” is apparently Duceppe’s “kitchen table”.
  • 8:44 PM Aaron Wherry – Oh wait. There were half a dozen other names on that editorial. And there were two other stories.
  • 8:45 PM Andrew Potter – Dion just raised a point I wish he’d made earlier. Back when he was Environment minister, he pushed hard to make Environment a central agency, along with T-board, Finance, and PCO. The idea was that every government programme would be evaluated according to its financial cost AND environmental cost.
  • 8:45 PM Chris Selley – I’m not sure if Attaran is a “Liberal,” for the record. He’s certainly a “pain in Harper’s arse.” But onto the environment!
  • 8:47 PM Aaron Wherry – The NDP war room has rushed out numbers from the treasury board that show CFIA funding for food safety going down every year from 2006 through 2010.
  • 8:48 PM Philippe Gohier – I feel like this is the first time Dion’s made a compelling case for carbon taxes over cap and trade.
  • 8:48 PM Andrew Coyne – This setting is tailor made for Dion. A very effective intervention just now — and tied it to “replace Harper” message, which only Liberals can do.
  • 8:48 PM Paul Wells – Can’t decide whether Dion is too self-effacing or whether he’s picking his shots rather cannily. One thing’s for sure, he’s talking less than anyone else around the table. But he just delivered a fairly good defence of carbon taxes over cap-and-trade.
  • 8:49 PM Paul Wells – Three pundits just made the same point. Drink!
  • 8:50 PM Chris Selley – Don’t take Elizabeth May’s word on anything.
  • 8:51 PM Philippe Gohier – Duceppe’s Kyoto obsession is tanking; no one else, not even May, is defending Kyoto.
  • 8:51 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – I can hear the occasional burst of laughter emanting from the French media room (yes, we’re segregated, but only for logistical reasons). I wish I knew what was inspiring it. Oh, and note that not one of the onsite party spinners – Brad Lavigne and Karl Belanger for the NDP, Dimitri Soudas (wearing a dashing Polo tie) and Kory Teneycke for the Conservatives, and Martin Cauchon and — someone else for the Liberals – has ventured into our tur
    f since the debate got underway. Don’t we deserve a little love?
  • 8:52 PM Martin Patriquin –
  • 8:52 PM Martin Patriquin – Harper’s stance right now is remarkably similiar…
  • 8:52 PM Chris Selley – Did he say green mort
  • 8:53 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – did the PM just say that *public servants* have “worked very hard” on his environmental plan? That seems — uncharacteristic. Usually, he only acknowledges the existence of the bureaucracy when he wants to glare pointedly at it.
  • 8:53 PM Paul Wells – Harper now actually has a Blue Sweater Vest voice. He now actually <i>sounds</i> like Perry Como when he’s trying to be reassuring. I feel like I’m wearing furry slippers when he talks. Mmmmmmmm.
  • 8:54 PM Martin Patriquin – Bipartisanship. Drink!
  • 8:54 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – The French room *loves* the UNO question – say something nice about the leader to your left. This could be fun.
  • 8:54 PM Chris Selley – I like this say something nice about your neighbour question. I can’t wait for Harper’s.
  • 8:54 PM Andrew Coyne – Say something nice about the person to your left?? Where did they FIND these people..
  • 8:54 PM Philippe Gohier – Wow, Duceppe’s really making a pitch for May’s affection.
  • 8:55 PM Chris Selley – At Hallmark, Andrew. They found them at the Hallmark store.
  • 8:55 PM Aaron Wherry – Breaking news! I see from the comments that Amir Attaran is a buddy of Michael Ignatieff. Just like that dead soldier’s father! It’s a total conspiracy!
  • 8:56 PM Andrew Coyne – When do they start passing the orange without using their hands?
  • 8:56 PM Paul Wells – Next question: Say something libelous about the person to your right.
  • 8:56 PM Martin Patriquin – Jesus, what the hell is this? Can they just hug it out and be done with it?
  • 8:57 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Aw, poor Jack Layton. I don’t think this is the night when you want the Prime Minister forced to say nice things about you.
  • 8:58 PM Chris Selley – A good father! HA!
  • 8:58 PM Martin Patriquin – This is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pointless.
  • 8:58 PM Aaron Wherry – “Your kids are lovely.” Family really is everything.
  • 8:58 PM Andrew Coyne – You’re a good father? That’s the best she can come up with? And Hitler loved his dog!
  • 8:58 PM Andrew Potter – I actually *like* this segment. It’s the logical consequence of having five people at the table.
  • 8:58 PM Philippe Gohier – May to Harper: You’re a good father
    but you’re a dangerous fascist.
  • 9:01 PM Aaron Wherry – Layton can personalize anything. There is not a single occupation or circumstance that has not been encountered by someone close to him. He’s a sort of genius.
  • 9:01 PM Andrew Coyne – A round of ritual denunciations of personal attacks, before resuming the very thing…
  • 9:01 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Elizabeth May just stole Jack Layton’s Broadbent story!
  • 9:02 PM Paul Wells – Richard Peregrino! Drink!
  • 9:02 PM Chris Selley – Harper: We don’t NEED personal attacks. But it’s way easier than the alternative.
  • 9:03 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: What does “making choices” have to do with parliamentary civility?
  • 9:03 PM Martin Patriquin – Harper got chutzpah. “Not a leader”, anyone?
  • 9:03 PM Philippe Gohier – Half of Harper’s staff is worried about their job all of a sudden.
  • 9:03 PM Andrew Coyne – Dion rounds on him. This is not a topic Harper wants to be on.
  • 9:04 PM Chris Selley – Well, Kady, sometimes you need to choose to be uncivil for the good of the nation.
  • 9:04 PM Philippe Gohier – Did Harper just say “we can have differences of opinion on personal traits”?
  • 9:05 PM Chris Selley – Yeah, Harper’s quite rightly getting hammered on this: Taliban-lovers, firing civil servants, etc. Good stuff.
  • 9:05 PM Paul Wells – His smile’s getting a little rictus-y.
  • 9:05 PM Andrew Potter – “you are getting drowsy…”
  • 9:06 PM Paul Wells – We have Amir Attiran’s entire history of political donations, by email from Ryan Sparrow.
  • 9:06 PM Paul Wells –
    Just kidding about the Ryan Sparrow part. Hi Ryan!
  • 9:06 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Bellows of laughter coming from the French press room, I can report, over Harper’s response to Duceppe over his insistence that the Bloc is useless.
  • 9:06 PM Aaron Wherry – He donated to both the NDP and Liberals! The conspiracy grows!
  • 9:07 PM Paul Wells – Donating to the NDP is a notorious Liberal trick.
  • 9:07 PM Andrew Coyne – New drinking game: How many times Jack Layton says “Je me souvien…” And don’t say it’s accidental: this is the party whose election signs have been getting redder with each passing week…
  • 9:07 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Is the camera closing in more tightly on Harper now than at the beginning of the debate?
  • 9:07 PM Chris Selley – Harper may have a point, to be fair, about it not being the CMA itself that levelled the accusations in question.
  • 9:08 PM Andrew Coyne – Exactement.
  • 9:08 PM Andrew Potter – Dawson prof asking about guns? CHEAP.
  • 9:09 PM Chris Selley – Agreed.
  • 9:10 PM Paul Wells – It is true that the CMA doesn’t write editorials in the CMAJ. But just as the CMA wouldn’t hire a CMAJ editor who’d commission editorials calling for sloppier research methodology and more intensely septic conditions in operating rooms, I kinda doubt the lead editorial in the CMAJ normally makes arguments the leadership of the CMA would find shocking.
  • 9:10 PM Martin Patriquin – Chutzpah, part deux: Harper saying “we didn’t do this” on Fortier’s Bloc Quebec Truck promenade. “Franchement,” to quote Elizabeth May, of all people.
  • 9:11 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Dion should consider having this Scottish interpreter voice him fulltime.
  • 9:13 PM Aaron Wherry – Here’s the complete list of authors on that editorial: Amir Attaran LLB DPhil, Noni MacDonald MD MSc, Matthew B. Stanbrook MD PhD, Barbara Sibbald BJ, Ken Flegel MDCM MSc, Rajendra Kale MD, Paul C. Hébert MD MHSc. Quick. Look up their political donation records. Surely they’re all in cahoots with Michael Ignatieff.
  • 9:14 PM Paul Wells – I think it’s safe to say Harper’s French has, indeed, improved markedly since the 2006 campaign, when in a much more formal setting he frequently didn’t understand questions or his opponents’ answers. He’s still sometimes awkward, sometimes searches for words, but he hasn’t seemed frankly lost at any point tonight. His French was
    already strong in 06, and it’s continued to improve.
  • 9:14 PM Philippe Gohier – Or Leon Trotsky.
  • 9:14 PM Chris Selley – Harper: It’s only a few violent crimes!
    May: Exactly! It’s only a few violent crimes!
  • 9:15 PM Andrew Coyne – Harper’s getting ganged up on, but I suspect it doesn’t matter. If he’s got four antagonists, that
  • 9:15 PM Andrew Coyne – ‘s four parties to split the anti-Conservative vote.
  • 9:15 PM Chris Selley – “An American solution that even the Americans don’t want.” Huh.
  • 9:16 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Elizabeth May is making Harper very uncomfortable. Actually, this topic – “crime” – seems to be making him uncomfortable, which is odd, since it usually works in his favour. Maybe this format isn’t so bad – I like seeing what they do with their hands.
  • 9:16 PM Andrew Potter – “nous avons une platforme”… No You Don’t.
  • 9:17 PM Paul Wells – Stéphan Bureau is actually getting younger with every passing year. He’s like Dorian Grey, and the portrait in his attic looks like Rick Salutin.
  • 9:17 PM Andrew Coyne – This is terrific, by the way. It’s not a debate — it can’t be, with five leaders — but it’s a conversation, with a moderator to keep things from getting too chaotic. Works for me.
  • 9:17 PM Philippe Gohier – I was surprised to see Duceppe take such a law-and-order turn. He might be nervous, but Harper seems to have shifted the debate.
  • 9:18 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – So, can anyone tell who’s winning?
  • 9:18 PM Paul Wells – The Canadian voter!
  • 9:18 PM Andrew Potter – I wish Dion had answered the question: Would you defeat the government over the young-crime bill? Jack says yes…
  • 9:18 PM Aaron Wherry – Another email from the Conservative war room on the CMAJ editorial, this one pointing out the opinions expressed in the CMAJ are not necessarily those of the CMA. Fair enough. But how about an email taking on the specific points raised by the CMAJ editorial? No? Too much to ask?
  • 9:19 PM Philippe Gohier – So long as we keep drinking to clichés, I’d say we’re winning.
  • 9:19 PM Martin Patriquin – @Kady: Dion in particular. But in general the anti-Harper vote is going to stay with the Bloc, I’d say.
  • 9:20 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – I should point out that the Conservatives’ Disclaimer Fact Check has a disclaimer of its own at the bottom, which makes the whole thing that much more meta.
  • 9:20 PM Paul Wells – Meta meta.
  • 9:21 PM Chris Selley – Cor, blimey. GREAT question. Better explain that damn resolution later than never!
  • 9:21 PM Paul Wells – I would go so far as to say that, for viewers who understand French or like Dion’s Scottish interpreter, this format and these players make for better TV than the McCain-Obama debate last week.
  • 9:21 PM Andrew Coyne – A Canadian debate, asks a question about “national identity” – but of course, it’s not about <i>Canadian</i> national identity..
  • 9:22 PM Martin Patriquin – @Selley: I guarantee there will be no answer in the next four minutes.
  • 9:22 PM Chris Selley – I think Lawrence Cannon did a better job explaining it than Harper just did.
  • 9:23 PM Andrew Coyne – DIon mentions the Canadian nation. WIll Harper?
  • 9:23 PM Paul Wells – Harper mentioned “our great nation” in his Rosh Hashanah press release this week, Andrew. And he meant Canada. I wanted to email it to you.
  • 9:25 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Wait, since everyone else – other than May – voted *for* the motion, isn’t this question a gift to Duceppe? He just has to point out all the stuff that the motion *didn’t* do.
  • 9:25 PM Paul Wells – Uh-oh. The PM’s stopped using first names. Frosty! Frosty!
  • 9:26 PM Andrew Coyne – The nation resolution: sure worked a treat, huh? The Bloc’s on top federally, Charest’s more nationalist than ever, with two parties even further out, the demands continue to ratchet up: culture, more money for the fictional fiscal imbalance etc.
  • 9:26 PM Chris Selley – @Kady – But if Duceppe starts saying the motion was useless, doesn’t that make HIM look a little silly for supporting it?
  • 9:26 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley: Hey, look, it’s the arts and culture programs cuts! They snuck in under cover of segue.
  • 9:27 PM Andrew Coyne – They’re all competing to see who can pander to Quebec nationalism the most. If this was in English and French…?
  • 9:27 PM Paul Wells – I haven’t the faintest idea what Duceppe is talking about but he seems to be thinking this is his knockout punch.
  • 9:28 PM Philippe Gohier – The problem seems to be that no one is quite sure what, exactly, the nation motion is supposed to mean.
  • 9:29 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Okay, did anyone follow that? The Duceppe-Harper discussion about something I’ve never heard about and I suspect nobody else in this room had either?
  • 9:29 PM Andrew Coyne – An entire debate about Quebec! Will Ontario get its own next?
  • 9:29 PM Chris Selley – Phil, surely they’re all quite clear it’s not supposed to mean anything.
  • 9:29 PM Martin Patriquin – @Coyne: Sorry, where’s Ontario?
  • 9:30 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Hey, the last three topics have all turned into grudgesettling four-on-one attacks. Was that by accident or design?
  • 9:30 PM Philippe Gohier – Harper’s right: galas are insufferable. But since when are they an election issue?
  • 9:31 PM Chris Selley – Since shut up!
  • 9:31 PM Aaron Wherry – Just to be clear, Harper is ranting against galas. While seated at the National Arts Centre. Which is due to host a gala in October. Of which his wife is the honourary chair.
  • 9:32 PM Paul Wells – I think the Duceppe-Harper thing — about an incorrect notice given to Michel Gauthier, or a private apology denied by public acts — is indeed total absolute inside baseball, since it clearly left both Bureau and Dion baffled. But I presume it’ll make a fascinating anecdote in La Presse tomorrow or Friday.
  • 9:32 PM Andrew Coyne – He never said ordinary Canadians don’t relate to the arts. He said they didn’t relate to subsidized artists, at subsidized galas, complaining about subsidy cuts that haven’t happened.
  • 9:33 PM Andrew Potter – Right, Andrew. Real Tories only subsidize farmers. And piano lessons. And swim lessons.
  • 9:33 PM Andrew Coyne – Well you know my views on subsides in general.
  • 9:33 PM Paul Wells – Fun fact: Saturday’s rich gala, which Mrs. Harper will miss for the first time in three years because the optics are bad, is a fundraiser. It’s designed to REDUCE the NAC’s reliance on tax dollars by attracting charitable donations from the private sector.
  • 9:34 PM Chris Selley – This segment is hopeless. Harper’s defending cuts he refuses to acknow
    ledge exist.
  • 9:34 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Doesn’t Ottawa look pretty through the back window? Sorry, just wanted to do some freelance tourism boostering.
  • 9:35 PM Aaron Wherry – Stephane Dion doesn’t have a watch. Not a leader.
  • 9:35 PM Chris Selley – Nice glasses, though.
  • 9:35 PM Philippe Gohier – And since when are people who get arts subsidies not “ordinary Canadians”?
  • 9:36 PM Paul Wells – If we had supply management for the arts, would that be better?
  • 9:36 PM Martin Patriquin – We could measure it by the ton, like bitumen.
  • 9:37 PM Paul Wells – The big countdown clock behind Duceppe is a nice neo-Brechtian touch. What is time? Time is fleeting.
  • 9:37 PM Chris Selley – Is Dion in some kind of gastrointestinal distress? He seems to be… squirming
  • 9:39 PM Chris Selley – We’re down to our last 50 million bucks?! I’m off to the Green Machine!
  • 9:39 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – well, Harper’s suit is bunching oddly around his neck. They’ve all been sitting awkwardly for nearly two hours, I cut all of ’em some slack.
  • 9:39 PM Paul Wells – Julie Couillard Julie Couillard Julie Couillard.
  • 9:39 PM Paul Wells – Just wanted to get our Google blog traffic up.
  • 9:39 PM Andrew Potter – If Harper holds up a shady-hitchiker “NO 2-TIER HEALTHCARE” sign, I’m drinking an entire bottle of Canadian Club.
  • 9:40 PM Paul Wells – Rictus. Now THAT’S a rictus.
  • 9:40 PM Philippe Gohier – Julie Couillard photo.
  • 9:40 PM Philippe Gohier – Figured we should cover the bases.
  • 9:41 PM Chris Selley – It’s going to be hard to go back to Dion’s real English voice. Translator sounds like your favourite uncle’s favourite professor.
  • 9:41 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Apparently, that’s the unsegueable topic. They managed to hit all the other tripwires – arts cuts, youth crime, hyperpartisanism – but not that.
  • 9:42 PM Aaron Wherry – Is Elizabeth May still here?
  • 9:42 PM Aaron Wherry – Oh, there she is.
  • 9:42 PM Paul Wells – Julie Couillard is the unsegueable topic? They’re just not trying. Mr. Harper, you’ve handed Canada over to the oilmen and George Bush while your ministers were dallying with Julie Couillard. See? Easy.
  • 9:42 PM Martin Patriquin – “Minister*s*”? Do tell.
  • 9:43 PM Paul Wells – That thing around Elizabeth May’s neck is a blatant pander to the sea urchin demographic.
  • 9:43 PM Aaron Wherry – Did any of these guys go with the french cuffs? Or is that too elitist?
  • 9:43 PM Kady O’Malley – @Selley – I don’t know what you’re talking about. Stephane Dion is a Scotsman.
  • 9:44 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – see? Now you’ll buy the book! This *is* better than Amway, Paul.
  • 9:45 PM Philippe Gohier – If Duceppe’s point that the federal ministry of health doesn’t actually do anything doesn’t explain Tony Clement’s appointment, I don’t know what will.
  • 9:46 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – French media room is laughing uproariously, by the way; the English room is quiet as a tomb.
  • 9:47 PM Paul Wells – Tomorrow the media rooms will be reversed. It’ll be the English room that’s quiet as a tomb, and the FRENCH room that’ll be laughing uproariously.
  • 9:48 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Ahh, there we go. Someone *has* to figure out a way to bring up Couillard.
  • 9:49 PM Martin Patriquin – Duceppe just hit the wedge issue that aligns practically all Quebecers outside of Bagotville–getting out of Afghanistan.
  • 9:49 PM Andrew Potter – <why is harper whispering>
  • 9:49 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Wait, did we just go a really long time without hearing from Harper? He kind of vanished during the health care discussion.
  • 9:50 PM Chris Selley – Dion: We didn’t invade Afghanistan. Remarkable.
  • 9:51 PM Andrew Coyne – Should we negotiate with the Taliban? The questions are ALL framed from the left…
  • 9:51 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Duceppe looks perturbed for some reason.
  • 9:52 PM Martin Patriquin – @Kady: Hair dye in the eyes will do that.
  • 9:52 PM Aaron Wherry – Harper supports talking to the Taliban? Since when?
  • 9:52 PM Paul Wells – Incidentally, I just checked on NBC and the Biden-Palin French debate is EXCELLENT. You should hear the Scottish accent on Palin’s interpreter.
  • 9:52 PM Andrew Coyne – Since about this minute.
  • 9:53 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – He supports “debate without weapons”, apparently.
  • 9:53 PM Aaron Wherry – Does that make him a Taliban sympathizer like Dion?
  • 9:54 PM Chris Selley – Negotiating with Taliban – Afghanistan’s choice, full stop. Good answer from Duceppe. Harper might’ve done well with that as well.
  • 9:54 PM Philippe Gohier – Taliban Steve just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Taliban Jack.
  • 9:54 PM Andrew Coyne – So we’ve got one party that favours record levels of spending, pulling out of Afghanistan, pandering to Quebec nationalism, flirting with deficits, handouts to large corporations, etc.
  • 9:55 PM Andrew Coyne – And we ‘ve got FOUR parties to its left!!
  • 9:55 PM Philippe Gohier – One party? Which one isn’t? The Greens?
  • 9:57 PM Chris Selley – Doublespeak for YEARS on Afghanistan, Mr. Dion? How many years, exactly?
  • 9:57 PM Chris Selley – Greenhouse gases up under the Liberal government!This is unfair!
  • 9:58 PM Andrew Potter – Meanwhile, US Senate passed the bailout bill 74-25
  • 9:58 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Okay, wait – Where did that emissions reductions crack come from? And why is Duceppe defending the Liberals? I’m so confused.
  • 9:58 PM Martin Patriquin – Harper: “During his [Dion’s] leadership, Canada’s emissions have gone up…” Interesting, that. Wonder who was PM during that time?
  • 9:59 PM Philippe Gohier – Duceppe’s got a point: Either Harper’s got a beef with the Liberals for wanting to do *too much* on climate change, or Dion’s responsible because they *didn’t do enough*.
  • 10:00 PM Aaron Wherry – Harper ends with an allegation that the Liberals don’t support the troops. Awesome.
  • 10:00 PM Paul Wells – boy, that was quick. I thought this was one of the best televised leaders’ debates I’ve seen.
  • 10:00 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Aw, that’s it? That was actually so much more interesting than I expected.
  • 10:01 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Okay — I want winners! Winners! Losers!
  • 10:01 PM Andrew Coyne – We should do this every week. And I don’t ju
    st mean during an election campaign. Why not a leaders’ roundtable — every week, all year round?
  • 10:01 PM Chris Selley – This debate-skeptic is shocked to find himself thinking that was… actually worthwhile.
  • 10:01 PM Paul Wells – Telejournal sting: “This night on le Telejournal, Stephen Harper is attacked from every side by his rivals.” That’s PRECISELY the headline a prime minister wants to have coming out of a debate. Because it means nothing he did is the story, and people EXPECT the PM to be attacked from every side.
  • 10:02 PM Kady O’Malley – Or we could sit around and watch random television, and yammer at each other.
  • 10:02 PM Andrew Potter – Great format. Well moderated by M. Bureau. Unfortunately, I was so busy liveblogging I missed most of it. Wha’ happened?!
  • 10:03 PM Martin Patriquin – @ Paul: Exactly. It’s not the debate. It’s how the debate is framed.
  • 10:04 PM Kady O’Malley – Kady O’Malley – Okay, Colleague Wherry has vanished, as has his laptop, which means I can no longer follow the conversation. I’m going to sign off – but I’ll read all the afterchatter when I get home. Night, all.
  • 10:06 PM Andrew Potter – Ten bucks says Liz May brains Harper in the changeroom with that colossal brooch she had on her throat.
  • 10:12 PM Paul Wells – I thought Dion improved substantially in the second hour, and delivered a strong performance overall. I don’t think Harper put himself in any danger with this debate. Duceppe had a strong night. Elizabeth May wasn’t held back by her French as much as I’d have expected. Jack Layton would like to be prime minister, apparently.
  • 10:12 PM Chris Selley –
    I think Harper |could have dropped the beatific smile more often — he was at his best when he looked somewhat perturbed. But assuming his job was to weather the storm and look prime ministerial, he did fine. Dion had many strong moments, particularly on the environment and, to me, he came off as the most genuine challenger to Harper. Layton’s “only the NDP can do this” lines are just silly, I don’t care what his war room says, and they sound even sillier when it’s a bunch of human beings around a table rather than a rally. Duceppe is just terrific — shame about the team he plays for — though I thought Harper did well against him after he dragged the gun question into locking up every 14-year-old shoplifter in the land in “criminal university.” Did Elizabeth May accomplish anything beyond being there? I’ll leave that to the francophones to say. She certainly didn’t seem out of place, her halting French notwithstanding.
  • 10:13 PM Andrew Potter – Harper won — he gets to act the beleaguered leader. “It’s difficult when it’s four on one”… so sad.

    Layton did well. May did herself no favours. Duceppe

  • 10:22 PM Paul Wells – Okay. I’m outta here. See you guys tomorrow night, everyone. Bring chip dip!
  • 10:24 PM Philippe Gohier – That’s it for me, too. Good night, everyone.
  • 10:25 PM Andrew Potter – aight.
  • 10:35 PM Martin Patriquin – Hébert is right: An entire debate without the word ‘sovereignty’. Drink!

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Filed under: liveblog – Canadian Leadership Debate – Day 1

  1. I’ll ask again: What will the blood-alchohol level of each members of the Maclean’s team be tonite – they can’t be doing this sober, can they?

  2. Speaking of sober, I am trying to think of words/expressions for drinking game. Harper is going to talk a lot about Green Shift and how its not a time for massive new tax system, Dion is going to focus on arts cuts and maybe Harper=Bush, Duceppe will be no to right-wing policies but I am not sure what Layton and May will focus on.

    Layton will present himself as left wing alternative to Bloc? May to focus on environment and ABC?

    Anyways, look forward to tonight’s live blogging festivities. Are all pundits on one blog or each person have their own live-blog going?

  3. So your French-language play-by-play will be in English? I hope?

  4. All our editors will be liveblogging in this post thanks to the magic of the internet (and scribblelive)

  5. Ian

    Thanks for link, exactly what I was looking for. With all his suggestions, calgarygrit will be legless five minutes after debate starts.

    Jonathan M

    Should be interesting because commentators won’t all have the same view.

  6. Let’s hope the debate covers all the most important topics to Canadians:

    cartoon birds on websites,
    two paragraphs from five year old speeches,
    Harper’s grasp of his daughter,
    Jokes told in private meetings.

    I fear though, that the erroneous and totally false assumptions that Canadians’ economic well being with “overshadow” the above very important issues.

  7. Hope that translate thingy on ScribbleLive really works. And Kody, forget the economy… Canada’s is “fundamentally sound.”

  8. Hey guys, just in case there was any confusion.
    a) I’ve been told the debate will be translated into English via sub titles if you’re watching at home.
    b) Our editors will also be live blogging in English, so we have you covered there as well.

    Hope that helps.

  9. Just came back from the Wells/Coyne all-star tag-team pre-debate entrail-reading, and I must say that as augurs go these guys could give the Druids a run for their money. The questions were very good and the answers even better: on Quebec Mr. Wells was very funny about the Bloc (“they’re like James Bond: you leave them tied to the wing of a plane and it always turns out he’s got a laser watch”), Mr. Coyne was very interesting on electoral reform (he would be a good choice for nomothete, I think), and they made some interesting points about the blogosphere – its influence on media but absence from the body politic. The Harper Question (which, classically, boils down to “What does Stephen Harper want?”) was shrewdly discussed; the consensus seemed to be that economically little is riding on this election but fiscally a lot is, in terms of centralisation vs. devolution. There were dozens of other eye-openers too – it was sort of like getting a month’s worth of blog posts injected in the space of two hours – but I didn’t take notes; for one thing, I was half expecting ITQ to be liveblogging it and tried glancing around to see if anyone was staring at their lap. No takers, alas, all were rapt. CPAC would have been handy. I hope they and other Maclean’s folk do more of these; meanwhile we have this debate team-blog!

  10. Jack Mitchell–Thanks for the heads up. I really wanted to see that but caught this miserable code.

    Francis Verhoeven–Thanks for the link; great stuff.

  11. Gilles has such pretty eyes.

  12. Mr. Harper still things our economy is fundamentally sound?

    Obviously he doesn’t subscribe to Macleans.

  13. Can I vote for Duceppe? He’s the only one there standing up for Ontario–and we surely need the help!
    (Yeah okay, the pretty eyes don’t hurt either.)

  14. Paul Reuben’s translates for the CBC , who knew ?

  15. Half a world away, I’m watching both in real time. How cool is this?

  16. E. May talks a good speed in French. Now if they could only get her to do that tomorrow.

  17. Good to see the Macleans staff are talking about everything except the debate.

  18. The 45 second limits benefits the fast talkers.

  19. Is it just me , or did Dion just step on his crank regarding GHG’s and when to start cutting them ?

  20. “I’m very surprised” Drink!

  21. Like the way May dissed Harper on the CMAJ piece.

  22. Harper and the Hippies.

  23. They should have spent more time on Listeriosis – another person died today – that makes 20 – Jack’s plan to have at least one inspector on the floor of every plant

  24. CPAC’s online streaming of the French version of this debate is useless

  25. Elizabeth May seem’s so undignified when she speaks.

  26. Harper is really gloomy looking tonight. Hunched over his chair like Mr. Burns.

    But Dion is barely getting a word in tonight. He seems like he’s just happy to be at the table.

  27. Oooh, just noticed the shot-clock in the background. Excellent!

  28. Ugh…everyone who says bad things about Harper is a Liberal and should be ignored. Damn you man, you can’t pull that bullshit when people are dying.

  29. Why doens’t Harper mention the Liberals 13 years of inaction on the environment.

  30. Harper looks like he’s about to laugh everytime May speaks.

  31. I think it’s clear in this debate so far that Elizabeth May doesn’t belong at the leaders table.

  32. Oh, oh, Stevie is getting annoyed by Ms. May…

  33. CAFE standards for cars (mpg) , efficiency standards for appliances and home retrofit programs (all GPC policies) are intensity targets!

  34. Harper is getting to know how Dion has been feeling, no?

  35. Layton came right in and called Harper on his bull – Harper is completely grimacing – Jack is looking great on the environment question

  36. I LOVE how May’s translator is translating all the emotion and inflection of her speech. “That’s ridiculous! That’s a joke!”

  37. Harper calling Duceppe “Gilles” and Dion “Stephane” reminds me of Obama calling McCain “John” in the first American presidential debate.

    Didn’t like it in Obama, and I don’t like it in Harper.

  38. Harper’s lyin’ up a storm, as usual.

  39. The more Aaron Wherry drinks the more he sounds like a Liberal…

  40. I think Harper’s strategy is to just sit back and let these four blow-hards sound like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

    It seems to be working to his benefit.

  41. McPharland over at the NatyPost says:

    Kelly McParland: I think Jack’s drawiung some blood here
    Ron Nurwisah: “Mr. Bush won’t be there soon. You’ll be the only one left, Mr. Harper” – Jack Layton
    Ron Nurwisah: May’s losing her cool, switching to English

  42. *refresh*, *refresh*, *refresh*

  43. “Mr. Harper still things our economy is fundamentally sound?

    Obviously he doesn’t subscribe to Macleans.”

    Neither does John Howard as he said the same two days ago – while getting the “Winston S Churchill Medal of Freedom” from the “American Freedom Alliance” for being “a strong ally of the United States”, according to the Melbourne Age.

  44. Amir Attaran is a buddy of Michael Ignatieff. He got into some sort of academic dustup and was going to be booted. Ignatieff saved him and helped him get another academic position.

  45. Oh wait, that wasn’t her translator?

  46. I just got back from an MRI. Has anyone mentioned the kitchen table yet? Drink?

  47. In conversational French Harper sounds like a bombsquad negotiator.

  48. Lord, this question about saying nice things about their opponents is cringe-inducing.

  49. I think Harper has a man crush on Layton. And I think Layton likes it.

  50. This reeks of US Democratic debates.

  51. Harper’s love-on for Layton was bizarre.

  52. I am not watching the debate, reading this live blog only, much more entertaining!

  53. May is having a real hard time sharing the love with Harper.

  54. The idea to outlaw handbags was a good idea…

  55. The moderator is doing well cutting off people when necessary.

  56. I am waiting for someone to get the bottle out and spin it. Harper’s hopn’ to get May, but I see Duceppe giving lately the ol’ googley eye

  57. Coyne made a Hitler/Harper comparison. He loses the liveblog!

  58. Amir Attaran is a buddy of Michael Ignatieff. He got into some sort of academic dustup and was going to be booted. Ignatieff saved him and helped him get another academic position.

    Clearing a blockage, are we?

  59. Conspiracy, Aaron? Hardly. The point is that this was not an anonymous $200 donation link that could have been made for any number of reasons, but a personal and significant connection. Does that lead to a conspiracy? Not. But to suugest that Stephen Harper is calling Attaran out as a friend of members of the current Liberals on the basis of a donation is unfair to Harper.

  60. They were all asked to say nice things – Jack said nice things about Dion and Harper said nice things about Jack – lets not forget that the NDP stood up in the HOC over 40 times to oppose Harper and his agenda

  61. Sweet .

    A minimum of judgement . Duceppe .

  62. Nous n’avons pas besoin d’attaques personelles.

    Oh, Harpy…Harpy, Harpy, Harpy…

  63. Dion just bitch slapped Harper.

  64. Wow…it’s like Harper doesn’t care about reality.

  65. Just got in from a run.

    Been watching for five minutes and Harper’s spoken about six words.

  66. Dion just bitch slapped Harper.

    Dion’s there?

  67. Lets start a new game – decipher from the above discussion which one of the Macleans staff are Liberal apologists. So far by my count its Aaron Wherry and Chris Selley

  68. Far from perfect Mr. Harper… Far from perfect.

  69. Hey gang, if any of you are reading these…Honestly, why does the consortium keep doing this debates like this? Everyone knows they are ineffective, but it seems like we keep doing it the same way because we’ve always done it the same way.


  70. Jack’s been calling for a handgun ban for a long time. Let’s see what Harper has to say for himself

  71. my count its Aaron Wherry and Chris Selley

    Nah, Kady’s the Liberal..can she say anything that isn’t a Harper shot?

  72. Its hilarious, the other leader’s once again are all coming aroun to an idea that jack put on the table a LONG time ago

  73. I think either Dion or Harper should challenge the other to a one on one debate next week. A 5 – way may be interested for adult films, but for a debate, not so much.

  74. I think May just poked Harper fairly hard on young offenders

  75. Harper is dodging this like it’s nobody’s business.

  76. Focus, Conbots, focus…

  77. I dunno. The whole thing reminds me of watching the Stanley Cup Finals in the college dorm.
    There was a time when they finished that early.

  78. Lizzy drops the fear mongering blast , heh . These idiots need to keep their talking points straight .

  79. Jack has ALWAYS stood up to Harper on bad pieces of legislation, unlike the sit on my hands cowardly approach of Dion

  80. Dion just said that he wouldn’t necessarily vote against changes to the young offenders act if it were a confidence motion – oh well – already hiding

  81. Duceppe and Layton are laughing at Dion. I am too.

  82. @francois – that’s just because he wasn’t bought off with nearly five billion, as Paul Martin did to pass the 2005 budget.

  83. “Stéphan Bureau is actually getting younger with every passing year. He’s like Dorian Grey, and the portrait in his attic looks like Rick Salutin.”

    Bwah..ha..ha..hah! ROFLMAO

  84. Great format:

    Duceppe, accusation against Harper:

    No response allowed by Harper,

    May, accusation against Harper,

    No response allowed by Harper,

    Dion, accusation against Harper,

    No response allowed by Harper,

    Layton accusation against Harper,

    OK Harper, it’s your turn.

    I’m thinking this may be a bit of a turn off for Canadians who generally have a basic sense of fairness.

  85. Ig-nor-é.

    Open syllables, Elizabeth!

  86. Jack has never had nothing to lose by being on message, 24-7. He would LOVE a Harper majority, in fact. His worst case scenario is a return to power for the Liberals…

  87. pander harper pander!

  88. Those Canadians who generally have a basic sense of fairness probably tuned below-the-belt Harper out long ago.

  89. Dion:

    “I’m a member of this Nation”.

    That’s just super.

  90. @AC – at least May is talking about Canadian nations other than the Quebec one, just not “the Canadian nation” per se.

  91. Serious Question

    What percentage of the population of Quebec know that Dion helped write and voted in favour of that little resolution?

  92. dan: Layton is taking Harper on every day and has been for 18 months – Jack is shooting for PM nothin’ else

  93. Aaron Wherry – Another email from the Conservative war room on the CMAJ editorial, this one pointing out the opinions expressed in the CMAJ are not necessarily those of the CMA. Fair enough. But how about an email taking on the specific points raised by the CMAJ editorial? No? Too much to ask?

    So where’s the disclaimer after a Harper speech? “The words spoken may not be of or by the speaker.”

  94. I thought it was an interesting point by James Fallows, re: the 1st McCain-Obama debate, that McCain refused to look at Obama – and it weakened him. Who’s looking where:

    Layton: generally only at Harper, though sometimes mugging for the camera

    Harper: at his interlocutor (though we never get a close-up when it’s Duceppe), generally at the moderator

    Dion: generally at the moderator only, but with excellent camera angles so that he seems to be communicating both with the audience and with the table

    Duceppe: right and left, never at the camera – that’s gotta hurt – he giggles back and forth – he looks possessed

    May: at Harper, not at the camera except during questions

  95. Harper personally supports the arts and culture – to reverse the previous demand, would you repeat that in English, Prime Minister? Preferably in Calgary?

  96. erin: sure and the Los Angeles kings are aiming for the Stanley Cup. That’s a fairly certain goal…

  97. Is Harper’s lipstick smearing? And what is that shade, anyway? Peach?

  98. Uh oh,

    Harper taking Duceppe on the “Nation” issue.

    My call:

    Duceppe drops four points on the next Crop poll by next week.

  99. Chris Selley – Duceppe did not support the bill that passed in the HoC, so he doesn’t look hypocritical.

  100. “isn’t this question a gift to Duceppe?” not if he spends most of it ranting at Harper about wrong versions of documents.

  101. I took French until about Grade 11 and never spoken it since. I can understand everything May says. That’s a bad thing.

  102. They said Tommy Douglas couldn’t win govt and he held it for 17yrs and they said he couldn’t get federal medicare and he did – so Layton haters take note

  103. isn’t anyone going to remind Harper that his so-called increase is heading straight down the rapacious gullet of VANOC?

  104. I like the format of the mcleans staff live blogging. That means I can leave the four wannabes and the PM as elevator music.

  105. Is it just me or is Dion barely involved in this debate?

  106. Ryan:

    “I took French until about Grade 11 and never spoken it since. I can understand everything May says. That’s a bad thing.”


    Best comment of the night so far.

  107. ah – Duceppe seems to be on the scent, although only that “arts went down when heritage went up”, not where the rest went.

  108. I’d like to point out that this year we had two very important historical events in this country–for which cultural monies were needed. One is the 400th anniversary of Quebec, the other is the 250th anniversary of responsible government in Canada, thanks to Nova Scotia. These two events don’t come along every day, so any ‘increase’ to arts and culture would have to be pretty huge to increase the regular arts funding. Harper is full of it on this issue.

  109. “Stephan Dion doesn’t have a watch but we are running out of time”

    not a lot of respect there

  110. Lets start a new game – decipher from the above discussion which one of the Macleans staff are Liberal apologists.
    Gohier’s last comment about galas not being an election issue just put him firmly in the Liberal camp, along with Kady the attacker, Wherry and Selley, and Potter is the group too.

  111. Layton nailed it I thought and so did the folks over at natty post
    Kelly McParland: Jack: “Most of the artists in Canada live in poverty. That’s the truth.”
    Ron Nurwisah: Wait.. $50 for each child for the arts? That’s like two piano lessons
    [Comment From Logan Hanson]
    Nice barb from Jack on the artists and their poverty, probably the best one on this topic.

  112. Anyone keeping track of the number of proxy questions that Quebec’s provincial politicians are getting from our moderator?

  113. Funny,

    but it looks like Harper is the only one who doesn’t look very angry.

    Who needs a sweater vest to look good when you have this nasty pack surrounding you.

  114. Mr. Coyne et al. Rather than scribble live, you should be using Cover-it Live. It’s become very popular on UK blogs (,, etc.) and in the US for covering debtes, speeches, and UK Prime Minister’s Questions.

    No need to refresh, it just scrolls down.

  115. I think Dion should switch to the Horn Rimmed Glasses of Heroes fame to make himself look tough.

  116. Hey, Hey, click on the ScribbleLive button at the end of the text and you’ll get something similar.

  117. “$50 dollars is only two piano lessons”

    Oh boy, I see it coming now:

    fully socialized music program, courtesy of Nanny Canada.

  118. Dion proposes a federal fund but no reason why it must be federal, Duceppe immediately demands an opt-out. All we need is Paul Martin in the background with one of his asymmetric federal agreements.

  119. It’s interesting that Harper is so keen to engage Layton directly. It must be deliberate – rallies the base – and besides it makes the NDP look good so they can drain off more Liberal votes.

  120. Paul Wells – The big countdown clock behind Duceppe is a nice neo-Brechtian touch. What is time? Time is fleeting.

    I love it Paul.

  121. kody I believe your beloved Harper trotted that out a few days ago, in the form of tax breaks.

  122. U.S. Senate passed bailout–on to house.

  123. Yeah, I’ll second that, Sarah, that was awesome.

  124. Dion:

    “Health is important.”


  125. An interesting side-effect of the format, is the lack of air-time for some of them. Harper is given the time, fairly, to respond to attacks. Add to that the fact that is a larger group, 5 of them.
    There are times when you have not heard from one of them for a while. Dion seemed to be absent for 10 minutes.

  126. May pokes Harper again, this time on wait times. Does she lie in wait until she figures Harper has forgotten she’s there when addressing Dion-Duceppe?

  127. Dion doesn’t need a watch. He knows it’s relative.

  128. I can see Russia from here.

  129. I could have sworn that the fed health minister does oversee a hospital (but only one)

  130. Jack won that Health exchange IMO

  131. “Aaron Wherry – Did any of these guys go with the french cuffs? Or is that too elitist?”

    Get a load of the ties…

    Oh, here we go, NATO, Afgahnistan.

  132. Oh boy, “le Canada dans le monde,” here we go.

  133. Wow – what a butch question on Afghanistan from Quebec.

  134. “Kady O’Malley – French media room is laughing uproariously, by the way; the English room is quiet as a tomb.”

    Closed circuit camera under the table hard wired to francophone press room.

  135. I’m watching this on a delay via my PVR, but I just watched the nice-to-the-left thing, and something struck me. Stephen Harper said nice things about Jack Layton (honesty and hard worker) and that’s it. No side comments about taxation or nationalization or why Harper should be PM or why the Green Shift is bad. Everyone else used the opportunity to say something nice and then went off on an attack. Jack Layton said Dion was saddled with a crappy party (and things will be better when Jack is PM), Dion said Duceppe was sincere but Liberals are true progressives and so on and so forth, and May just started calling Harper dangerous. And Duceppe started things off on the wrong foot — saying he and May can agree Stephen Harper is a bad person.

    I backed up and watched the whole segment twice. Stephen Harper seemed to be the only person who didn’t use the say-nice game to say something nasty. And everyone says the blue sweater thing was a cynical ploy.

    Watching May creeped me out the most. Totally missed the point, and used kids (Harper’s) to sound nice before attacking.

  136. 9:49 PM Martin Patriquin – Duceppe just hit the wedge issue that aligns practically all Quebecers outside of Bagotville–getting out of Afghanistan

    Proof that the Quebec media has no fricken clue about the Canadian Military. Bagotville is an Air base, Valcartier is an Army base you clod kicking idiot.

  137. there’s Johnny Howard again! Dion swinging for the fences with time running out.

  138. Liz, I want my sweater back

  139. Raise your hand if you get annoyed listening/watching to Jack Layton talk constantly with a grin. Looks like a used car salesman.

  140. Jack looks prime ministerial – he is not smirky in the list – just more nasty bullsh_t

  141. So Janke, i’m guessing you may vote for Harper? Because when it comes to NOT saying nice things about their rivals, he’s only spent 2.2 years and millions of dollars doing exactly that. Maybe what the world needs now is just a lot of blue sweaters?

  142. I thought Layton was the video professor?

    Harper’s flip-flop on the Talibam is pretty stunning given the attacks he’s used in the past. But stunning flip-flops are the basis of his career as leader anyway…

  143. “Raise your hand if you get annoyed listening/watching to Jack Layton talk constantly with a grin. Looks like a used car salesman.”

    (hand up)

    Also like the tweens on those fecking Idol shows who sing songs with a huge toothy grin despite the fact that the song lyrics are about sadness/death/loss.

  144. Erin, say hi to Olivia Chow for us!

  145. That bunched suit makes Harper look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

  146. Did we just see Stephen Harper direct a conversation about Afghanistan to the environment, and then Dion CHANGED THE SUBJECT BACK? Who are these guys?

  147. Verdict: excellent design, the seating arrangement was accessible and far less distanced from each other. I like the idea of using this approach in future.

  148. I’m really glad Steve Paikin won’t have to ask the “say something nice” question and hope he takes his cue on moving the debate along more from Stephane Bureau than more Jim “I got steamrolled by McCain” Lehrer.

  149. I liked the seating arrangement as well. Good debate, for what these things are worth. But…*urg*…here comes the post-debate punditry.

    Take me now, Lord.

  150. Dion did what he needed to do.

    Whether anyone in le Canada anglais was listening remains to be seen, but he looked and sounded prime ministerial and did well on balance through the entire debate. The impression I received (on the west coast so take that with a grain of salt) is he very carefully used inclusive terms throughout. Us. We. Stressing he is a Quebecer, lets take what works in Quebec elsewhere. From a western perspective it sounded positive and non threatening. From an Albertan perspective who knows.

    Harper as to be expected was on the defensive. Held his own but didn’t gain anything.

    Layton I doubt gains from this nor does May.

    Duceppe probably gained from this unless there is a greater desire to elect government than more bloc.

    Clearly there is a lot of synergy among the other parties on many of the key issues. Whether that works for them or against them remains to be seen.

    My 9 year old (who is bilingual) make a comment “All Harper seems to want to talk about is taxes, taxes, taxes”.

    I thought that was rather interesting.

  151. I congratulate my worthy opponent, Stephan Dion, on his commanding performance in this debate. I am no match for him in his native tongue. But I warn him — tomorrow night, I will have the advantage!

  152. @PaulWells – the Telejournal headline is reminiscent of the Chinese media story about the space launch – before it actually launched. What else would a leaders debate which includes an incumbent look like?

  153. I was out, so I’m behind — watching it on the PVR.

    For someone who built a two-year attack strategy on a freeze-frame of a shrug, Harper shrugs a *lot*.

  154. Did Dion just release ANOTHER platform?


  155. yeah, 2-0

  156. Dion’s 30 day plan, as he must have hoped, appears to be news in the English media. Fun question shouted by a reporter that was not answered but certainly will have to be: what if the consensus in these meetings is no carbon tax?

  157. And he did answer it later. They will agree with us, he said predictably enough. Essentially his answer to all questions from here on out will be: here’s an economist who said something nice about this element of my platform. Therefore the result of all these meetings will be: implement the Liberal platform. In which case, just implement the damn platform. If you win.

  158. I think the big issue with respect to the financial meltdown is…to what degree is Canada exposed to the risk? We need to find out…and fast.

  159. May had “fun”.

    I can sleep well tonight.

  160. so Kody, what’s your prediction for Nanos tomorrow, Thurs, the best day of the week for Cons numbers according to you? Nanos’s three day avg today was 36%.

  161. The new debate format was good. I thought Harper, Dion, Duceppe and Layton all did well. Dion was a tad emotional at times which came across as self-rightiousness.

    One odd thing about the debate is that we found out next to nothing about the parties’ platforms which I think is unfortunate. The exception was the Conservative platform which Harper seemed to have more time to outline in response to the numrerous questions he got.

    May came across, to the extent that she came across at all, as a bit of a fanatic. She doesn’t come across as the leader of a party. She still comports herself like the head of an NGO. Too bad for the Greens. She also showed her fanaticism and/or lack of class in her response to the question of saying something nice about the leader next to her, which was Harper. Her answer came across as mean-spirited and petty. She was worse in the press conference after the debate. It just makes her look like a fanatic and not a party leader.

  162. So Liberals, didn’t Dion nail it? Oh, he nailed it. He so not a notaleader.

  163. Kinsella says Duceppe won the debate. He agrees with my view that May’s performance made her look less like a leader. Here’s what he says:

    “Foolishly, May called Harper a “liar,” a “joke,” and a fraud artist over Kyoto; whether you think those epithets are accurate or not, May looked less like a leader, Harper more – because he didn’t erupt.”

  164. Dot,

    Cons up by three from today (maybe two, but no less).


  165. Rule of thumb regarding post debate pundits’ analysis:

    they’re almost always wrong.

  166. So 39? Ha! That means tonight they have to poll at 44 plus 9 = 53 (or 50 at +2).

    No chance.

  167. I used to work for Don Drummond. He’s a smart economist. But don’t we live in a democracy? Dion thinks if Don Drummond says we should adopt his green shift that the Parliament is just supposed to respond with “Ready, aye, ready. Don’t the people have a say?

  168. Two Cents – Dion is a typical lefty that way, trust the experts, not the people. The more compicated and abstract the answer, the better it is for him. Common sense is not this man’s strong suit. In two weeks the Liberals will be looking for a new leader and the Liberals and the Canadian public can be thankful for that.

  169. Dot “Ha!”??

    Actually no.

    It all depends on how poorly the CPC polled on Sunday.

    That’s my whole point.

    If Sunday was particularly bad (as I contend is the case due to undersampling) then they may need no increase today at all.

    Sunday’s low numbers are dropped off, and


    Maybe you should put a few more “plugs” into that excel spreadsheet,

    play around with it for awhile,

    you’ll figure it out.

  170. “I took French until about Grade 11 and never spoken it since. I can understand everything May says. That’s a bad thing.”

    It makes no difference. An anglo is an anglo whether they speak fluently or not. Quebecers can tell.

    Duceppe wins.

  171. I absolutely can’t stand that “all experts/economists/scientists/interest-groups agree with me…” appeal to authority. Dion, May, and Duceppe do it constantly. Harper and Layton to their great credit can make and defend their own arguments.

  172. Kody,

    Tell you what. If CPC’s numbers go up tomorrow (Nanos three day poll), I will stop posting on the Maclean’s site – if you will stop posting if the numbers go down.


  173. Do you think silencing opposing viewpoints is a good thing,


  174. I welcome reasoned argument from all perspectives. Your loss will not be mine.

  175. Steve Janke said:

    “I backed up and watched the whole segment twice. Stephen Harper seemed to be the only person who didn’t use the say-nice game to say something nasty. And everyone says the blue sweater thing was a cynical ploy.”

    All Harper did was list his own legislative accomplishments. To paraphrase, “Remember, we brought in this fantastic piece of legislation, and you supported it? That was great, Jack.”

    You watched how many times and still missed that?

    At least May looked like she was sincerely *trying* to say something nice. It wasn’t an easy task.

    If I had been in her seat, I would have said something like, “Mr. Harper is the most skillful media manipulator this country has ever seen. He has done everything in his power to bar the press from covering his government for almost three years, and yet somehow he can still get cameras to show up and photograph him shoulder-patting his daughter.”

  176. Ti-Guy:
    “…here comes the post-debate punditry.
    Take me now, Lord.”

    Yes. Please do.

  177. So, a deal Kody? Just want this to be on the record.

    Show me and others that you have some “clothes” and that you’re a person who stands behind what you constantly repeat ad nauseum.

    Don’t do the cowardly lion thing.

  178. Everyone can SPIN away. All I know, a Quebec television post-debate sampling of vote opinion gave it too……DION. I believe it was “hands down”, or something like that.

    Ah, what do the VOTERS know :)

  179. Ti-Guy, if, by “nailed it”, you mean “didn’t collapse”, the indeed, yes.

    Hope this holds up until the 14th, don’t you?

    – JV

  180. Ti-Guy, if, by “nailed it”, you mean “didn’t collapse”, the indeed, yes.

    I was being a Lib-bot.

    I don’t know why I would expect Dion to collapse, but then, I’ve been paying attention.

  181. Yes. Please do.

    Don’t start with me, Ranter.

  182. Steve V first Liberal blogger to come with his Liberal blogger post-debate spin.

    Hate to break it to you Toronto-area bloggers but the Liberals have been dead in the water in Quebec since day 1 so even if Dion was brilliant in this debate, and he wasn’t, it wouldn’t matter a whit. Nobody listens to him in Quebec, he’s been a dead man walking there for some time.

    Some of the media in his scrum were telling him he didn’t interact in the debate that much but most listeners have a low tolerance for too much Dion, so him keeping his mouth shut for most of the debate was actually a good tactic. I mean that sincerely.

  183. Tell you what. If CPC’s numbers go up tomorrow (Nanos three day poll), I will stop posting on the Maclean’s site – if you will stop posting if the numbers go down.

    Dude..Dot’s calling you out!

  184. Glad all of you enjoyed your circle jerk tonight. Thanks for adding nothing to the election.

  185. I’ve concluded by his obvious avoidance (while posting partisan stuff on Wells’s blog) that he would face losing income for the next two weeks as well when he goes down.

  186. Jarrid

    LOL. What spin? I cited a sampling from TVA, you know the voters. They said Dion won, not me. Just the facts.

    You’re a joke.

  187. If it worked for you writer people, then it worked for me as a reader.

    You should just go with the UnstableScribble, or WhateverTF it’s called.

    If it isn’t right, then complain, but the point is, just go with it.

    – JV

  188. That was great fun to read, great work guys.

    How the hell am I supposed to watch two debates AND read at the same time? I need a bigger budget. Prime Minister!

  189. comment by Steve Janke on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 9:01 pm:
    Conspiracy, Aaron? Hardly. The point is that this was not an anonymous $200 donation link that could have been made for any number of reasons, but a personal and significant connection. Does that lead to a conspiracy? Not. But to suugest that Stephen Harper is calling Attaran out as a friend of members of the current Liberals on the basis of a donation is unfair to Harper.

    When Harper releases his leadership supporters’ list, then maybe Canadians will care who donated $200 to Dion’s campaign.

  190. 8:30 PM Martin Patriquin – I’m already drunk — on love.
    8:30 PM Philippe Gohier – What Marty meant to say is we’re liveblogging this together.

    In case you don’t get it often enough, you’re fantastic.

  191. Thanks for this, it was a fun read.
    Blog on!

  192. Dot- THANK YOU!!! You actually managed to find a way to shut him up!!! You are officially my new hero!!! Who knew accountability for his statements was Kody’s Kryptonite?!
    To the Maclean’s crew- Echoing several comments so far- Great job! It was an enjoyable read and it really added to the debate for me. Cheers!

  193. Is there a number of a great Pizza place i should call for tonight’s debate ? I just crave Pizza when i see a bunch of lunatics going on each others back for the politic agenda.

    And can someone give me the phone number of Julie Couillard, i’m single and i need a story of myself in the next Mclean magazine.

    thanks dudes and dudettes !

    The Shaker

  194. Shaker, if you ever get the number of this woman, pass it on, please. I wouldn’t miss out on a date with this awsum diva. And for your pizza parlor in case you need to grab a snack…call LaBella cucina.

    See ya Dude.

  195. This debate is not a debate it is a “pick on Stephen Harper”. The mediator has no control over what is now shouting match. The reason we wanted to hear is that we wanted to know what the other leaders were going to offer. As it is a total waste of time. What kind of a country is this one that can put together such a dreadful DEBATE.
    Is everyone so afraid of Stephen Harper that they have nothing to say about their own party?

  196. I can’t follow Dion and do not understand why Mae is there. JAck is ok if he can loose his smile. Harper is doing better a lot then yesterday.

    When you look at the candidates, Harper stands out as the best to represent Canada worlwide. But is he really honest?

  197. Is Stephen Harper an honest person ? That’s a great question dude. I got my doubts on this. I can’t figure out this dude, when in 1996 in New-York he told the board of Manhattan economics that Canada was a running gag from the old Europe way of thoughts. he hates frenchmens, first of all, and now he craves on them for power !!!!

    Sounds to me, like someone who ask you to go take a shower and then, turn on the steam pipes and chokes you to death.

    Don’t trust this dude at all !

  198. Pingback: Canadian Leadership Debate Liveblogging Round-up - ScribbleLive - Your Content Marketing Software