Well the 1st part of the debate is over and I must say it went exactly like I thought it would and the way it had to. The only supporter of Harper left is a die-hard one if there are still any of them not in hiding, or daring to show their faces in public. You can not defend the indefensible and that resonated throughout the debate and has been resonating throughout the campaign. The Conservative led Harper team needs to change its strategy and quickly, or lose the next debate and the election.
Mr. Harper: The man did not look calm to me, he looked nervous and tried to pull off giving the short answers, hoping the time would pass and so he only answered what he had to. He looked like a guilty man on trial waiting for the one question that will prove him guilty of a crime. The cockiness was gone from him and he looked small, petty and ashamed. I think at times when under fire, he looked like he always looks, angry, indignant and self-righteous. He did stick to the Conservative way of answering questions, which in this observer’s opinion means not answering the question at all, but saying what others do not do. He said that he and his party had laid out a plan to govern if given a majority government, but would only show it after they were given the mandate to govern, after the election and that we should trust him. Mr. Harper seemed to be saying I did not prepare anything that would give you insight, because what you have seen is what you will be getting. No matter what question was put to him he referred to what he and his political party have done in the past and said that the voters of Canada can expect more of the same and that he wanted, no needed a majority government to ensure that he did not have to worry about getting the other 3 parties support every time he wanted to do things like, cut spending on social programs to help seniors, veterans, the poor and things like foreign aid to Africa. I think he had the look in his eyes of a deer caught in the head lights; afraid, unable to move and waiting for the inevitable to happen.
Mr. Ignatieff: This man came off looking like it was indeed his fist debate and that he thought that debating each other on the issues and informing Canadians about where they stood on the important issues affecting Canadians was what this television farce was really about. He got it together well, but at times looked like he was confused at the direction and the hostility with which the attacks were being made. I think that he came across as sincere and as the only candidate not just putting on a show. If being a rookie can be an asset I think that in this case it was definitely that for Mr. Ignatieff. I think he did manage to get in his party’s platform and make himself look like the only alternative and choice for Prime Minister. I think he scored big when he said straight out that Jack Layton knows he will not become Prime Minister of Canada and therefore could only be running for head of the official opposition, while he was running for the honor of becoming Prime Minister of Canada and that was one of the biggest differences between them. Mr. Ignatieff made it clear that he was not looking to stand up to Mr. Harper, but that he was looking to unseat Stephen Harper, a man he considers untrustworthy and bad for Canadians. I think he looked confident in what he was offering to Canadians and in what he was suggesting about why the voters should choose him instead of the others. I think that he handled himself well, answered the questions put to him intelligently and like a person who did not feel himself above the question, but as a person able to identify with the need of voters to know what it is he intends to do if given the chance to govern.
Mr. Layton: This man is what you always dream of for leader, but know that you will never get. He suffers from the same problem as all of his predecessors; everyone loves the leader and finds them above reproach and really wanting to help Canadians, but not enough voters trust them enough to give them the numbers to win, or understands how they will accomplish the big promises that they are making. Jack Layton, to be frank is too good for most Canadians to believe in; like a fairytale knight in shining armor. Nice story, but not going to happen. This fairytale image makes Jack Layton appear to be a leader of a political party who knows he will never govern so can make any promises he likes, because he knows that he will never be called on to deliver them. I think that it is time for Jack Layton and the NDP to rethink their strategy and either think about running to win, or merging with the Liberals. Canadians do not want the vote split anymore and this is what a vote for him means right now. I think that he came across like the spoiler that he is, but the spoiler that Canadians are becoming weary of. No one really wants to hurt him by withdrawing their support, but about now they are hoping and really wish he would do the right thing and say vote for the Liberals and stop Harper from getting another term as Prime Minister of Canada. Mr. Layton is not ready to let go of the reins and do what is best for Canada either though and this is shown with every attempt by him to further split the vote. It would seem that his ego is not as small as he claims it is and his wanting to do what is best for Canada and Canadians does not extend to losing his pay check, or giving up power.
Gilles Duceppe: The man was honest and emotional, but really had no business being there except that he is allowed to bring his separatist ways to parliament by right of the democratic process. To me he looked rather stupid standing there arguing for Quebec only and I had to wonder to myself why a federalist green party leader was excluded from the debate and this guy was allowed? More of the same from this guy, except when he went after the Prime Minister. I think that aside from Mr. Ignatieff coming off sincere, Mr. Duceppe proved to be Mr. Ignatieff’s greatest ally. His attacks on Mr. Harper were most telling of the PM‘s short comings and showed just how distasteful Mr. Harper’s peers find him. Mr. Duceppe made it clear that Mr. Harper has no intention of working with other parties for the betterment of Canada, or for anything else. He exposed Mr. Harper’s hypocrisy and came as close as you can come in public and in debate to calling some one a liar, cheat and a supporter of crime and criminals and a hater of Quebec. I think that he handed English and non separatist Quebec to Mr.Ignatieff on a silver platter.
Ms. Elizabeth May: I wish they had allowed Ms. May, leader of the Green Party to join in on the debate. These debates are supposed to be about giving Canadians an insight into all of the people running for Prime Minister not only the ones who will attract the highest audience and ratings for television. It would have been nice to hear a woman’s perspective. God knows that women are too easily blocked and thwarted by the men in power in our government and to think that now they are being blocked by television from getting out their points, because of television ratings is really too bad and quite frankly undemocratic and shameful. This is one of the reasons that I call this television mini series a farce. That all the men did not refuse to participate if she was not allowed in was disgraceful and showed a little bit about how they feel about women in politics and about the environmental issues we face as a country coming to the fore front of the debates. Let all of the leaders debate is what I believe in and would have liked to see. Canadians are capable of deciding who means what to them and what matters to us.
Overall view: I think that they all fought hard, but you can not hide from the truth forever, it will always come back to bite you in the butt. Mr. Harper’s innocent face fooled no one this time around and for the first time I saw fear in his face. He look irritated, frustrated and angry. I think that his true colors were brought to the surface in this debate and every Canadian saw him for who he truly was. I do not think it is possible to change your image, or the way you carry yourself over night, but that is what I think is needed by this politician. Mr. Ignatieff must continue to show the differences between him and Mr. Layton, but keep the pressure on Mr. Harper and he will win not only the next debate, but the election as well. Jack Layton needs to send his supporters to Mr. Ignatieff, because he is not going to win the election and to continue to act as if he thinks he has a chance of winning is lying to himself and the Canadian voters and shows his insincerity when it comes to doing what is right for Canada and the Canadian voters. Mr. Duceppe should leave Canadian politics at the federal level and run for Prime Minister of Quebec immediately.