Leaders Debate 2011


Wow.

I’ll go over a couple of highlights, paraphrasing mostly.

Liberals

Ignatief to Layton, “At least we have been in power” – well neener neener Jack Layton! There’s my side of the debate. Despite the many good answers he had, the one thing that stuck with me was his ‘neener neener – we’ve been in power recently’ statement. Oh, that and some of the items he was pushing we things the Conservatives have already done.

The thought of raising corporate taxes is scary (given that I work for a corporation) but having seen how much other countries tax corporations, I know we could bump it up to 18% and still be far more competitive the several other major countries. But there was no talk of tax relief other than things that are already in place – subsidies for renovations to make our homes more green? It’s already in place. I am curious about this School Pass item mentioned.

One point he brought up continually was the plans for budgeting money for ‘jets’ and prisons. I won’t talk to prisons yet because I can’t fathom how he can be so against budgeting for military upgrades, like “jets.” Not budgeting for upgrades (or updates) to our military’s equipment is forcing our military (fathers/mothers, uncles/aunts, brothers/sisters, and sons/daughter) to do their job with aged equipment. And when your job deals directly with situations involving death – do you really want them flying around in vehicles that are nearing the end of their life expectancy?

We need to plan for these things. Ignatief suggested we put out a competitive demand for the vehicles – no kidding. That should be done, but you still need to budget and plan on how much you can spend. You don’t say, “We want to buy jets… but don’t know where we we’re going to get the money for it because we haven’t planned for it. Let’s talk cost then we’ll try to raise the money for it.” Where do you think that money will come from? Either more taxes or digging a deeper deficit.

Remember, these aren’t obscure people fighting for your freedom – they are fellow Canadians. Family members of yours or your friends or neighbors (currently fighting for freedom and peace outside of Canada). I’d rather see money going towards keeping them safe and well equipped than funding language police in Quebec or being wasted on gun registries that govern types of guns rarely used in crimes.

Prisons. I agree that there should be better systems in place to prevent crime, education and rehabilitation being main areas to improve this. Citing that most of the offenders didn’t have high school diplomas was interesting but the real question is – why didn’t they? Is it something Canada could change? Knowing several of the kids that dropped out of High School or turned towards crime – no, I don’t think it was something the government could handle unless they adjusted our education system and allowed it to be more flexible.

NDP

Layton on healthcare, shortage of doctors, “We will implement more doctors…” – seriously? I thought they took years of education, internship and a certain type of person willing and capable to do the remarkable things doctors do. They’re not something you ‘implement’. This isn’t a software service solution – these are highly trained and educated people. Another beauty was calling out how the Bloc has 17 seats while the Green Party has none, yet the Green Party had almost as many votes as the Bloc – why does our election system work this way?

Well, Mr. Layton, the Conservatives held a referendum to get this changed years ago but Canadians foolishly voted it down. Where was your voice and your party’s efforts in backing the Conservatives and ensuring the proper message of what this change was got out to the voters? You ducked behind the Conservatives and let them take the bullets of ignorance and fear over ‘making this country in the U.S.’. Really, that was one of the overarching tones of being against the election changes. You did nothing to clear that up then, but now you’re complaining?

Most of the ones I talked to didn’t understand it so they went with the status quo. Worse were the ones that wanted the new system but didn’t understand that it was exactly what they wanted. It really was sad.

I agree with Harper when he suggested you cannot just set metrics for green action without planning for how to meet this metrics. I love your ideals, but there is little substance behind them. They’re ideals, not plans or measures to implement them. On the other hand, he’s looking to implement people – how do you ‘implement’ doctors? Maybe they could help the Liberals implement teachers to sort out the School Pass idea.

I think his heart is in the right place but can’t help but feel he lacks the means or know how. Now, it might not be fair to suggest he needs to know everything – that’s why you have ministers of various areas.

Conservatives

Harper.. I can’t really quote anything from him *half-grin*. He did his best *smile* to keep his nose clean and *grin* stick to the message of his *smirk* party. Even if he hasn’t learned when *smile* to slip a smile into a *smile-no-wait-no-smile* his dialog, er, I mean *grin* defense.

Because it was like his government was on trial – it was a debate, not a hearing. The questions often got lost as which ever candidate was talking attempted to smear the current government.

To be fair, the Conservatives upset a Liberal party majority that was getting away with far too much and platformed on accountability. We haven’t seen so much of that yet from the Conservatives. This wasn’t quite a point brought up in a tangible fashion.

I did think they defended themselves well enough, but still wish there was data backing their defense and even the attacks against them – more so the attacks against them. If the others had valid points, they needed to qualify them because they were getting lost on the fact that Harper was a target.

“Okay, this question is up for one on one debate between Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatief. Roll the tape for the question.”

This was followed up with more negative comments about Harper and the Conservatives. Why wasn’t this an actual debate between NDP and Liberal viewpoints? Harper and the Conservatives weren’t part of the question – the question was how would YOU address it. The mudslinging made you (other) parties look bad, petty even, and gave Harper the opportunity to turn the other cheek or show himself as being a better man.

You handed him this.

When asked about Immigration, Layton couldn’t help but sling mud at the Conservatives. Instead of saying, “We recognition there is a significant backlog of immigration applications and here are our plans to improve this process to ensure Canada brings in good people and their families in a timely, cost effective way,” he went on the attack, looking for pity and sympathy for immigrants who are waiting for the rest of their families to be allowed to join them. Yes, it’s sad… what are YOU going to do about it? Details.

Bloc

Duccepe? Again. I don’t understand why he was there. I can’t vote for him and his agenda is to milk Canada for all he can, directing those tax dollars towards Quebec until he can somehow managed to tear Quebec out of Canada … while still getting federal funding. His party has some pretty awesome plans… just for Quebec only. Instead he played the role of the devil who’s made deals with each and every party member.

For the record, when I mention ‘candidate’ in this post, I exclude Duceppe and May. Again, Duceppe can only be voted for in Quebec so there is no way in hell he can be Prime Minister unless the rest of Canada simply doesn’t vote.. May is excluded from ‘candidate’ only because she wasn’t present for the debate and I’m discussing the debate.

General

I was pleased to see the candidates appeared to be against coalitions working over existing minority governments. Even though Harper pointed out the wording used implied the Liberals would go this route. On the other hand, the other parties made it sound like Harper (and the Conservatives) were refusing to compromise with the other parties on some of their items. Though he said he did.

While no one directly said the other was lying, they did point out that most of what was said wasn’t the truth.

So what do you believe? What can you believe? No one really provided any evidence of anything they claimed. Can you believe any of it or was it all just a waste of time?

I think it was rather ineffective and next time, candidates should be allowed to prepare and bring data forward. Back up what they’re saying with hard data and not hearsay or, in some cases, incoherent rambling and clever double speak.

Or maybe our candidates are ineffective?

Clearly our system is ineffective or out of balance. Two out of three candidates appear to agree – I couldn’t really see where the Liberals stood on that regard but I think they stood to benefit from overall votes. I know in my riding, it was pretty damn tight.

Again, I’m excluding Duceppe. It’s clear that if we moved to a system that tallied total votes, his party wouldn’t have much of a voice.

I’m not sure which way I’m going to vote this year. Obviously, I can’t vote Bloc. I don’t like Ignatief’s less than humble (and somewhat childish) attitude. Layton has great ideas for Canada, but not a whole lot in the way of plans. Harper hasn’t shown the firm accountability he promised during the first election. Did he word it as “other parties and governments other than our own”? And I haven’t the slightest idea of where or how May would have presented herself or represented her party on the various topics.

Sad thing is, I don’t feel I can spoil the ballot.

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