You come on back, kid


I have always been underestimated, and it has always served me well.

-Stéphane Dion to TVA’s Lina Dib, shortly after winning the Liberal leadership

“Liberal Leader Stephane Dion emerged as the clear winner of the French debate, according to an Ipsos Reid poll for Canwest News Service and Global National late Wednesday night. [MTL Gazette]

“It seems Stéphane Dion really surprised you, and many analysts seem to agree: Dion scored many points.” [Patrick Lagacé, to his readers]

“Dion was in fine form.” [Journal de Montréal]

“There were practically no expectations for Stéphane Dion before the debate. Yet he did very well, even exceeding his own.” [Vincent Marissal, on Radio-Canada]

AND THE KICKER: “Twenty per cent of the French-speaking Canadians surveyed said they have changed their mind about who to vote for on Oct. 14 after watching the debate.” [MTL Gazette]

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You come on back, kid

  1. ““Twenty per cent of the French-speaking Canadians surveyed said they have changed their mind about who to vote for”

    I find that staggering. How can so many people change their mind after one debate. Quebecers have loathed Dion for years but it’s all forgotten after one decent performance. Do the French see politics as a beauty contest?

    I am clearly not a Dion fan but I would find that number baffling no matter who it went to.

  2. Duceppe recovered from things like the hairnet incident, maybe it’s not impossible to forgive Dion? The issue that caused the friction is on the backburner at the moment.

  3. Mmmm. jwl’s tears are just like a nice stout; the bitterness just makes it that much more delicious.

    Martin, this isn’t actually a big surprise. He’s a well-trained debater, and the public has only seen him through a—-rather unfriendly–media filter for years now, especially among those Quebec outlets that were not terribly fond of the Clarity Act. The low expectations really did serve him well.

    (As did his war room, which threw the Conservatives completely off their game exactly when they needed it least.)

    Now the question is whether he can repeat the performance.

  4. It also means that 80% of people did not change their minds.

  5. the consensus that dion won the debate last night is going to make tonight’s debate tremendous fun.

    dion got through almost the entire two hours without being targeted or attacked (with just a couple exceptions), but tonight you’ve got to assume the other leaders will be more aggressive with him.

    meanwhile, you’ve got to figure harper is going to, say, not take another 45-minutes nap during the proceedings, which raises the likelihood of greater confrontation and the possibility that he’ll snap and show his temper.

    also, a dion revival is jack layton’s worst nightmare, other than a national ban on overacting.


  6. “but tonight you’ve got to assume the other leaders will be more aggressive with him.”

    Yes. Must. Assume. Media. Told. Me. To.

  7. Dion had nowhere to go but up. In fact, the Libs were probably purposely playing up the loser factor so that he would look good on the debate (the same thing happened with Turner).

    The 20% who changed their minds were likely soft voters anyway, and it doesn’t say how they changed their mind (as in from which party to which party). Though it’s not too surprising; a debate is the first and maybe only chance to see any of the leaders for more than a 30 second clip.

  8. “anon”, why not just choose “Tory war room” as your name? It’ll be much easier to keep straight, and everybody will applaud your honesty.

    Scott: True enough, but the basic dynamic remains the same: all the parties need to be seen as the anti-Harper choice (except, I suppose, Harper himself) so they have to attack him. Sure, they have to be cautious about Dion scooping up the votes that they shake loose, but how can they guarantee that without giving Steve-o a free pass?

  9. “especially among those Quebec outlets that were not terribly fond of the Clarity Act”

    By which you mean: “all of them”

    The fact that he didn’t respond to the question on health by stating that it should be removed from provincial responsibility was probably a shock to most Quebec viewers.

  10. The 20% number is admittedly impressive, but lets not read too much into it…it is a sampling only of those who watched the debate.

    Those who didn’t would presumably not have changed their opinion to any statistically significant degree just because they read that Dion “won” the debate.

  11. Dion is on a surge next stop Sussex Drive bang the war drums and blow the pipes at least until the debate tonite where the up and coming Jack the giant killer has a gleam in his eye!

  12. Can I point out that “20% of Quebecers say they have changed their minds about who to vote for” Unless they say they are now voting for Dion, I don’t know if that is particularly relevant. We have seen in the past that the ‘winner’ of the debate is not necessarily the winner of the election. Al Gore was deemed to have won all the debates against Bush, Kerry also did well he didn’t win either. When you factor in that there were five leaders in the debate who knows how that 20% breaks down.

  13. For me Layton was the winner. I thought that he was poised and yet he had the best exchanges with Harper on health care and the economy and culture. I am bilingual so I went back and forth between the simultaneous translation and the french station and I thought Layton’s command of French was very good.

  14. Erin and Wayne – you guys are completely right! Tonight it will be all about Layton and Harper. Duceppe likely won’t be terribly aggressive he needed to do that last night (although I didn’t find he was…). Dion will do better than most expect but it will be hard for him to be credible given his record. May – what can I say, she will be aggressive but I don’t know how much that will help her because I think many people (me included)find her grating.

  15. erinberk: Al Gore not winning the election is a debate in and of itself.

    That said, I agree with your general point.

    And Wayne’s correct, that was the easy debate for Dion. Harper’s french is much better than Dion’s english, and while not winning Quebec may put the kibosh on the hopes of a majority for the “Conservatives” (I always use quotes now, because I refuse to give credence to the idea that Harper’s groupies have any relation to true conservatism), Ontario could still turn things back for him.

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