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French language debate: Tie goes to Layton


 

Language aside, there were several carry-overs from the English debate last night: the perpetual look of owlish incredulity on the part of Michael Ignatieff, who unfortunately kept getting cut off; the one-off zingers of Gilles Duceppe (‘Yes, Quebec stands up at the UN. It doesn’t have a seat!’) that demonstrate how much less this man has to lose than anyone else; the unblinking stare of Stephen Harper, sticking to his talking points and nakedly appealing to ‘les régions’, spitting out ‘Toronto and Montreal’ like they were curse words (good luck with that Montreal seat, Larry Smith).

If there was one free radical, it was Jack Layton. Giving his creeping advantage in the polls, Layton’s battle was with Duceppe, from whom the NDP leader would like to take a chunk of the soft nationalist vote. He shut Duceppe’s narrative of an Ottawa-centric NDP government down, he withstood the sticky questions about Bill 101 by reminding Duceppe that language policy is a provincial jurisdiction, and was the only one of the three federalist leaders to have the courage (or folly, depending on who you ask) to say his government would move to have Quebec sign the constitution. His French was about 10 times better than in 2008, and he had the last word. It was a slog, and he didn’t win by much. But he won.


 

French language debate: Tie goes to Layton

  1. Nice summary, Martin. I also noted that Jack looked a lot less orange than last night, to the credit of his makeup artist.

  2. Nice summary, Martin. I also noted that Jack looked a lot less orange than last night, to the credit of his makeup artist.

    • Okay, it wasn't just me then. I saw that and was kinda hoping all the leaders were going to be tinted in the colour of their respective parties.

      • Suddenly, excluding May seems so prophetic.

  3. There is no way Layton 'won' the night. He did better in English debate. He hardly talked about policy, and when he did it was after the other leaders.

  4. There is no way Layton 'won' the night. He did better in English debate. He hardly talked about policy, and when he did it was after the other leaders.

    • But "winning", and I don't mean this in a Charlie Sheen sense, is relative. In English Canada, the candidates were auditioning to be Prime Minister in the living room of some boring couple from Brampton, Vancouver, or one of the too-close-to-call ridings in Newfoundland. I'm not sure that policy is as important in the French language debate – since many Quebeckers have voted for a party with no ability to implement policies since 1993. I think many people in Quebec know that Layton has a platform they can live with, but they also knew that about McDonough, McLaughlin and Broadbent. The potential difference is over whether or not Layton will go to bat for Quebec when the chips are down.

      (this is all conjecture, by the way)

  5. Ignatieff more relaxed, Layton more excitable, Harper more sedated and Duceppe is Duceppe.

  6. Ignatieff more relaxed, Layton more excitable, Harper more sedated and Duceppe is Duceppe.

    • I thought the absent minded Professor was slow on the draw tonight. His French is worse than mine and I think of myself as being bilingual as I have 5 French speaking brothers in law.

      • No, you're a Con and your mind was made up for you months ago.

        Ignatieff speaks Metropolitan French…you likely speak Joual

        You are aware, are you not, that Layton is also a PhD?

        • I actually agree with Curt, Emily… Ignatieff's French is weak. It was criticized when he first arrived on the political scene and it has improved since, but he is not comfortable in it. It was an obvious weakness on display.

          • Ignatieff speaks excellent French, he doesn't speak Joual.

            He has, in fact, taught in France.

          • Wher? When?

          • He was an assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia from 1976 to 1978. In 1978 he moved to the United Kingdom, where he held a senior research fellowship at King's College, Cambridge until 1984. He then left Cambridge for London, where he began to focus on his career as a writer and journalist. During this time, he travelled extensively. He also continued to lecture at universities in Europe and North America, and held teaching posts at Oxford, the University of London, the London School of Economics, the University of California and in France.

          • Where did he teach in France? when? I might have been there at the same time and i could check out my year books and directories.

          • I don't know, and I don't care…anymore than I care what mailroom Harper worked in.

          • Emily, Nice Wiki page. You must know that Wiki isn't the best reference.__Check this out.__

            Michael Ignatieff was born in Toronto on 12 May 1947. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in History. After earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he was elected a Senior Research Fellow at King's College, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of California, the University of London and the London School of Economics. Source Govenrment of Canada Foreign Affairs. Note Liberal party Bio makes no mention of teaching in France.

          • Wiki has footnotes, you can look up more if you like from there.

            His Liberal bio doesn't mention a lot of the things he did…whyever would they?

  7. Ignatieff was waaaay better tonight. I thought Jack came off as a bit of a sleaze. Duceppe smoked everyone like usual though.

  8. Ignatieff was waaaay better tonight. I thought Jack came off as a bit of a sleaze. Duceppe smoked everyone like usual though.

  9. But "winning", and I don't mean this in a Charlie Sheen sense, is relative. In English Canada, the candidates were auditioning to be Prime Minister in the living room of some boring couple from Brampton, Vancouver, or one of the too-close-to-call ridings in Newfoundland. I'm not sure that policy is as important in the French language debate – since many Quebeckers have voted for a party with no ability to implement policies since 1993. I think many people in Quebec know that Layton has a platform they can live with, but they also knew that about McDonough, McLaughlin and Broadbent. The potential difference is over whether or not Layton will go to bat for Quebec when the chips are down.

    (this is all conjecture, by the way)

  10. "was the only one of the three federalist leaders to have the courage (or folly, depending on who you ask) to say his government would move to have Quebec sign the constitution."

    Bah, he can say that because he has no chance of forming a government. A relevant counter-question would have been: would you make that one of the conditions of your support for a Conservative or Liberal government?

    It's still folly to bring it up of course. Harper will have to open up the constitution sooner or later if he is to make changes to the Senate; Quebec will be right there waiting to insert itself into the discussion should that happen.

  11. "was the only one of the three federalist leaders to have the courage (or folly, depending on who you ask) to say his government would move to have Quebec sign the constitution."

    Bah, he can say that because he has no chance of forming a government. A relevant counter-question would have been: would you make that one of the conditions of your support for a Conservative or Liberal government?

    It's still folly to bring it up of course. Harper will have to open up the constitution sooner or later if he is to make changes to the Senate; Quebec will be right there waiting to insert itself into the discussion should that happen.

    • Jack Layton will have Quebec sign the constitution, he will abolish the Senate, he will balance the books while spending three times as much as anyone else, he will plant lollipop trees in everyone's backyard, and he will bring your dog back from the dead.

      He has never broken any such promises. That is a fact.

      • My mom refused to get me a lollipop tree when I was young.

  12. Okay, it wasn't just me then. I saw that and was kinda hoping all the leaders were going to be tinted in the colour of their respective parties.

  13. I thought the absent minded Professor was slow on the draw tonight. His French is worse than mine and I think of myself as being bilingual as I have 5 French speaking brothers in law.

  14. Jack Layton will have Quebec sign the constitution, he will abolish the Senate, he will balance the books while spending three times as much as anyone else, he will plant lollipop trees in everyone's backyard, and he will bring your dog back from the dead.

    He has never broken any such promises. That is a fact.

  15. No, you're a Con and your mind was made up for you months ago.

    Ignatieff speaks Metropolitan French…you likely speak Joual

    You are aware, are you not, that Layton is also a PhD?

  16. Suddenly, excluding May seems so prophetic.

  17. My mom refused to get me a lollipop tree when I was young.

  18. This really felt to me like a Duceppe-Layton debate with occasional interruptions from some beige people who faded into the background, and yes, for that alone, Layton gets the win.

  19. I couldn't bear it; it was awful.

    I did notice this though, Layton's French sounded less from a French Immersion School and more from Les Pays D'en Haut. You can't get trained to speak like that, you have to spend lots of with rural peasants.

  20. I couldn't bear it; it was awful.

    I did notice this though, Layton's French sounded less from a French Immersion School and more from Les Pays D'en Haut. You can't get trained to speak like that, you have to spend lots of with rural peasants.

    • If we are referring to the same "rural" features in Jack's French (eg.: final [ɑ] becoming [ɔ] or the drop of vowels in clitics ("j'pense"… instead of "je pense"), those are hardly caracteristics of peasants. They are found everywhere in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba vernacular French.

      It raises an interesting question about Canada's bilingualism though. What are the varieties of language we expect the leaders to speak? We don't see much british English in the english debate. Should leaders aim for european French or the local variety?

      • Everywhere, yes, almost. But definitely not in institutions teaching French to anglophones. My point that Layton must have spent a lot of time with common francophones still stands(granted I exaggerated the commonness of francophones).

        Also, we do have our own Haut Français in Canada and it's not a European copy. It is spoken mainly on Radio Canada, French Immersion Schools, and the city of Québec.

  21. Harper performed like a zombie. Those pale, dead eyes staring ahead at the camera; that automaton delivery.

    Duceppe is always fun to watch: yes fun.

  22. Harper performed like a zombie. Those pale, dead eyes staring ahead at the camera; that automaton delivery.

    Duceppe is always fun to watch: yes fun.

  23. Michael Moore has been tweeting during the debates:

    •"Ok, only had 3yrs of French in hs (high school), but here's what I think they're saying: croissant, peace, souffle, universal health care, je t'aime, jobs."

    •"Ok, so here's what I don't get: The French separatist dude is the smartest one & the best candidate but if he wins he wants to leave. He's like your grandpa who says he hates the Internet & won't go online–until he does, & then you can't get him off it. He'll like Canada!"

  24. Michael Moore has been tweeting during the debates:

    •"Ok, only had 3yrs of French in hs (high school), but here's what I think they're saying: croissant, peace, souffle, universal health care, je t'aime, jobs."

    •"Ok, so here's what I don't get: The French separatist dude is the smartest one & the best candidate but if he wins he wants to leave. He's like your grandpa who says he hates the Internet & won't go online–until he does, & then you can't get him off it. He'll like Canada!"

    • If Gilles Duceppe weren't a separatist, he'd probably make a pretty good Prime Minister.

  25. If we are referring to the same "rural" features in Jack's French (eg.: final [ɑ] becoming [ɔ] or the drop of vowels in clitics ("j'pense"… instead of "je pense"), those are hardly caracteristics of peasants. They are found everywhere in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba vernacular French.

    It raises an interesting question about Canada's bilingualism though. What are the varieties of language we expect the leaders to speak? We don't see much british English in the english debate. Should leaders aim for european French or the local variety?

  26. Is anyone else getting tired of the Don Martin, Nik Nanos Harper love in every night?
    Don Martin is starting to take on that Mike Duffy wink wink nudge nudge, you know who we're working for but we'll try to play at being objective once in a while. Nanos is taking on the role of political commentator, far beyond mere pollster. I've got some news, you're no Allen Gregg.
    Nanos now has a poll where Harper is slipping, Ignatieff gaining, and Layton gaining by a bigger percentage, but still nowhere in comparison to the two front runners. In the Globe the spin is all Layton. To read the Taber/Nano interpretation you would think he's heading for victory.
    Martin and Nanos have been pushing Ignatieff as debate loser, but Nano's own figures don't show that. Harper is slipping and Ignatieff and Layton are gaining.
    On Wednesday night Martin stated unequivocally that Ignatieff lost the first debate and Nanos appeared to agree. But I would say opinion was clearly divided on that, and most honest objective commentators were calling it a draw, no real loser no real winner. I look forward to tonight's Martin Nano Harper love in.

  27. Is anyone else getting tired of the Don Martin, Nik Nanos Harper love in every night?
    Don Martin is starting to take on that Mike Duffy wink wink nudge nudge, you know who we're working for but we'll try to play at being objective once in a while. Nanos is taking on the role of political commentator, far beyond mere pollster. I've got some news, you're no Allen Gregg.
    Nanos now has a poll where Harper is slipping, Ignatieff gaining, and Layton gaining by a bigger percentage, but still nowhere in comparison to the two front runners. In the Globe the spin is all Layton. To read the Taber/Nano interpretation you would think he's heading for victory.
    Martin and Nanos have been pushing Ignatieff as debate loser, but Nano's own figures don't show that. Harper is slipping and Ignatieff and Layton are gaining.
    On Wednesday night Martin stated unequivocally that Ignatieff lost the first debate and Nanos appeared to agree. But I would say opinion was clearly divided on that, and most honest objective commentators were calling it a draw, no real loser no real winner. I look forward to tonight's Martin Nano Harper love in.

  28. I didn't watch it. What did Layton's tie look like?

  29. I didn't watch it. What did Layton's tie look like?

    • Yellow/gold with bluish/purple stripes. I think he has 4 or 5 versions of the same tie that he alternates between.

      • Full Windsor or half-Windsor knot? Allegiance is an important issue.

        • I think both he and Harper had tight full Windsor's, but I'd have to go back and check the official record.

  30. Yellow/gold with bluish/purple stripes. I think he has 4 or 5 versions of the same tie that he alternates between.

  31. Full Windsor or half-Windsor knot? Allegiance is an important issue.

  32. I think both he and Harper had tight full Windsor's, but I'd have to go back and check the official record.

  33. If Gilles Duceppe weren't a separatist, he'd probably make a pretty good Prime Minister.

  34. I actually agree with Curt, Emily… Ignatieff's French is weak. It was criticized when he first arrived on the political scene and it has improved since, but he is not comfortable in it. It was an obvious weakness on display.

  35. Ignatieff speaks excellent French, he doesn't speak Joual.

    He has, in fact, taught in France.

  36. Everywhere, yes, almost. But definitely not in institutions teaching French to anglophones. My point that Layton must have spent a lot of time with common francophones still stands(granted I exaggerated the commonness of francophones).

    Also, we do have our own Haut Français in Canada and it's not a European copy. It is spoken mainly on Radio Canada, French Immersion Schools, and the city of Québec.

  37. .
    There were 3 winners, and 1 loser by default. On eye-contact.

    Focus on the camera is good populist optics. But it's against a fundamental unwritten rule of Western discourse in debate.
    .

  38. .
    There were 3 winners, and 1 loser by default. On eye-contact.

    Focus on the camera is good populist optics. But it's against a fundamental unwritten rule of Western discourse in debate.
    .

  39. Wher? When?

  40. He was an assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia from 1976 to 1978. In 1978 he moved to the United Kingdom, where he held a senior research fellowship at King's College, Cambridge until 1984. He then left Cambridge for London, where he began to focus on his career as a writer and journalist. During this time, he travelled extensively. He also continued to lecture at universities in Europe and North America, and held teaching posts at Oxford, the University of London, the London School of Economics, the University of California and in France.

  41. Where did he teach in France? when? I might have been there at the same time and i could check out my year books and directories.

  42. Emily, Nice Wiki page. You must know that Wiki isn't the best reference.__Check this out.__

    Michael Ignatieff was born in Toronto on 12 May 1947. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in History. After earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he was elected a Senior Research Fellow at King's College, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of California, the University of London and the London School of Economics. Source Govenrment of Canada Foreign Affairs. Note Liberal party Bio makes no mention of teaching in France.

  43. Wiki has footnotes, you can look up more if you like from there.

    His Liberal bio doesn't mention a lot of the things he did…whyever would they?

  44. I don't know, and I don't care…anymore than I care what mailroom Harper worked in.

  45. Every day Harper sinks lower and lower, another day another scandal hits the headlines. Now i hear he's attempted/attempting to defraud (AGAIN – sponsorship scandal) the electoral system by flooding temporary foreign workers into Canada, which he planned to capitalize on by changing rules to let non-citizens in the country vote. Of course he wasn't allowed to do this because he's not trusted to be truly in charge of anything (the only good thing going for canada and canadians under his oppression), BUT you can be sure this is part of his long term plan for reinventing Canada into the dictatorship state he has wet dreams about every night.

    Bush tampered with voting machines, paid off a family member in the state of florida to look the other way, and stole a country out from under the people he was supposed to honestly and ethically serve. Harper is doing the same thing, need to win an election?…. buy it… can't buy it?… corrupt it with coercion of people, human beings…. and distortion of social structures which disgust him as much as he now disgusts all Canadians.

    This thing has to be divested of his power and any future potential for gaining it. Thanks to harper being a beacon of darkness, corruption, evil, moral ineptitude and everything that WILL NEVER BE PART OF A FUTURE WORTH GIVING TO YOUR CHILDREN.

    Harper. You're finished. Buster.

  46. Every day Harper sinks lower and lower, another day another scandal hits the headlines. Now i hear he's attempted/attempting to defraud (AGAIN – sponsorship scandal) the electoral system by flooding temporary foreign workers into Canada, which he planned to capitalize on by changing rules to let non-citizens in the country vote. Of course he wasn't allowed to do this because he's not trusted to be truly in charge of anything (the only good thing going for canada and canadians under his oppression), BUT you can be sure this is part of his long term plan for reinventing Canada into the dictatorship state he has wet dreams about every night.

    Bush tampered with voting machines, paid off a family member in the state of florida to look the other way, and stole a country out from under the people he was supposed to honestly and ethically serve. Harper is doing the same thing, need to win an election?…. buy it… can't buy it?… corrupt it with coercion of people, human beings…. and distortion of social structures which disgust him as much as he now disgusts all Canadians.

    This thing has to be divested of his power and any future potential for gaining it. Thanks to harper being a beacon of darkness, corruption, evil, moral ineptitude and everything that WILL NEVER BE PART OF A FUTURE WORTH GIVING TO YOUR CHILDREN.

    Harper. You're finished. Buster.

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