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


 

Format

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

Memorable Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quotable Quotes

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

  1. Wow, that Dion is impressive. Imagine a plan to make a plan and all in “da first turdy days”.

  2. Dion was exactly what I expected him to be. He didn’t disappoint. The guy who took down Lucien Bouchard was back. For all of those Francophones who were told day-in day-out that Dion was an imbecile, they were given a rare chance to see the real Stephane Dion, not the grotesque caricature that pundits and Harperites have worked so hard to create.

  3. I was impressed by Our Leader’s obvious efforts to contain his contempt. It showed a real capacity for restraint. But somewhere, sometime, somebody is going to pay. I wouldn’t want to be around him today.
    Well….. any day.

  4. I love watching Gilles Duceppe. It’s getting harder and harder for him sound sincere when invokes the parochial rhetoric of the Quebec nation. One minute, he’s running mental circles around everyone else at the table (probably thinking that if he were leading a national party, he could phone in a campaign and likely win against those dweebs). The next, he’s gotta switch into demented sovereignist mode, where he reminds me of the guy downtown wearing a tin foil hat and shouting out about aliens and the end of the world.

    It’s like watching a department store Santa who doesn’t believe in Christmas anymore. Sure, the “ho,ho, ho” is there, but you can tell his heart isn’t in it.

  5. Best line (paraphrased as best as I can remember it) of the night goes to Duceppe: Food exported to the US is inspected every day. Food for consumption in Canada is inspected once a week. This government cares more about the health of Americans than Canadians.

  6. Duceppe also had a zinger that Harper shouldn’t tell Quebecers how to be healthy (or some such thing), and instead worry about inspecting meat federally.

  7. As a civil servant with almost 30 years in public service I believe I have the experience to work with Revenue Canada to determine who may qualify for the “large breasted woman’ tax credit. Ms. Coulliarde should be a shoe in but further discussions with Minister Bernier are in order. Please consider this my application for said comepetition as I endeavor to return to the Federal Gov’t to serve my country.

  8. Say, isn’t Stephane Dion a defenceman for the Tampa Bay Lightning?

  9. Dion’s 30 days would be the summer BBQ tour redux: with Dwight Duncan and 9 other finance ministers telling him the Green Shift is for the crapper.

    The format for both debates is something out of Groundhog Day.

    Harper plays Bill Murray doomed to good governance all day and forced to smile through the Lizzie May, Comrade Jack, Citoyen Dion, and Little General all night bitch session.

    This morning the clock flips over to 6:00 am and Harper wonders if 10,000 tries will be enough to wake up Feb. 3rd with a majority.

    Let’s vote Feb. 3rd.

  10. It’s nice that the Small Dead Animals crowd make themselves easy to identify by calling other party leaders silly names, eh yyc?

  11. saskboy: best part is that everything except the first sentence is just a copy-and-paste of comments he’s posted before.

    Is it too much to ask for a bit of originality, yyc?

  12. Or maybe not. I’m sure I read his post before somewhere else, but I can’t spot it.

  13. Just look in some Australian blogs…seems to be a well-regarded resource.

    Austin

  14. Charles, I’m sure saskboy can dig up a staffer to scapegoat the copy/paste on.

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