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Morning Brew: April 13, 2011 (Canada Leaders Debate 2011: Minor Conservatism, Split Liberalism)

Posted by Andrés / April 13, 2011

20110413_leadersdebate2011.jpgOpinion | Last night's leader debate offered no respite from status quo politics amongst Canada's "great" leaders. In true Parliamentary fashion, our current Prime Minister played aloof and superior, while the opposition dealt in fumbling petulance. Layton (NDP) and Duceppe (Bloc), comfortable in their positions as redundant vote-splitters, offered the clearest policies and attacked evenly against Harper (Conservative) and Ignatieff (Liberal). Layton lambasted Ignatieff's pitiful House attendance record, stating that missing work was not a good prerequisite to getting a promotion. Meanwhile, Duceppe clearly outlined Harper's flip-flopping vision of democracy over the years from opposition to leader.

Harper's presentation as calm and collected was becoming of a Prime Minister, even if his inability to look the opposition in the eyes betrayed his veracity. The problem with Harper's Conservatives is their lack of transparency, and this despite a big hullabaloo over the creation of a Federal Accountability Act back during the post-2006 Election period. Proroguing Parliament may sidestep the debate, but doesn't win you any brownie points. Despite their rise to power due to the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal over a mishandling of $2 million of government contracts (the Commission investigating these funds cost over five times that amount), the Conservatives have been fairly liberal in their own spending. G8 and G20 costs surpassed $1 billion, all in the name of Canadian "prestige". More recently, they announced the intention of purchasing F-35 fighter jets in Canada's largest military acquisition to date: another $9 billion-plus project. Lest we forget allegations of a possible Conservative sponsorship scandal. But why oh why can't the Tory's balance a budget?

And why oh why are Ignatieff's Liberals floundering in the wake of all these generous floating offerings? Could it be Ignatieff is a better writer than he is politician? Could it be that his years outside of the country and (thank you Jack) lack of participation in Canadian politics have stunted his efficacy as a proper debater? Whatever the reason, Ignatieff came off as true Opposition material: retaliatory and desperate. And given the economic climate, more spending is not a win-worthy platform. I have no doubt his knowledge of political concepts and pie charts exceeds that of Harper's, but unless he can convey a clear message in English or French, he'll go the way of Stéphane Dion. That "unless he can" may have come in handy during the Debate. So in a way he has lost already.

The Conservatives' best bet to win a majority is a weak Liberal Party. While I have a feeling the end result of Elections 2011 will be the same (i.e. a Conservative minority), the possibility of a win in the coming years is heightened if another Liberal shake-up fails to produce a charismatic figure (and for heaven's sake, I am not talking I-can-throw-myself-down-stairs-on-purpose Justin Trudeau here). Also, if the can-do Conservatives can improve the management of their own party, show a willingness to walk-the-walk on transparency issues, and genuinely cut in spending, they could be a Party worthy of a majority.

There, of course, remains a big elephant in the room: representation by population (why is the the Green Party with 6.8% of the popular vote has 0 representation. whilst the Bloc with a slightly higher 9.97% gets 49 seats).

How will you vote?

Discussion

18 Comments

Sean M / April 13, 2011 at 02:02 am
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You do realize that the reason Harper barely looked at the other politicians is because he was clearly addressing the citizens of Canada which I find more appropriate considering all the finger pointing and interrupting.
George C / April 13, 2011 at 07:21 am
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What bothers me about Stephen Harper is that he is so comfortable misrepresenting facts. His idea of controlling government spending is to give billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest few in our country and then cutting services to the rest of us. I have seen my living costs increase dramatically and I am barely getting by. The Conservatives are not worried about the average Canadian other than trying to fool us into voting them into power.
b / April 13, 2011 at 08:58 am
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ilikepoo.
tara / April 13, 2011 at 09:27 am
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hey everyone, my name is tara, i just needed to get my story out here on the internet. you see, i have a problem, i have an addiction to eating poutine at midnight.i was sp tired after watching the debate, i tried to go to sleep, but i NEEDED some poutine around midnight
can anyone help?
John T. / April 13, 2011 at 03:27 pm
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Boy, talk about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse !!
Iggy, the Russian gypsy. Subsidized Jack and unilingual Duceppe. Harper is the only one who made sense. Iggy repeated the same thing over and over ad nauseum. Jack got a couple of nice shots in particularly at Iggy but when his wife runs around Toronto attacking Senators for campaigning on the public dime, who does she think is flying Jack's plane. And dear old Gilles. All he could do was point fingers and yell.
The whole thing was pretty sad in my humble opinion.
john d / April 14, 2011 at 08:00 am
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I do not think we needed this election,ndp and the liberal are wasting are money, so there will not get my vote.As far as harper he needs to think more of the working class,lower gas prices,help low income and the elderly.there is nothing too say about the Bloc,
Margot / April 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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I'm glad y'all have opinions; l'apathie c'est plate.

(http://www.apathyisboring.com/)

Don't forget to vote!
Patrick / April 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm
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I can't believe people are falling for Harper's smug 'in control' attitude. Cause that's all he has. No matter what anyone has against Iggy, he can't be as bad as a CRAZY (alliance church) REPRESSIVE (g-20 arrests) MANIPULATIVE (pushing so terribly hard for fox news north) LYING (how much will those jets cost again?) REPUBLICAN (tax cuts to oil companies).
He is basically destroying what made Canada great in the first place. We might as well just become the 53rd state. And then vote Palin whydontcha.

Honestly I can't believe people still fall for old superficial tricks like "clearly adressing the citizens of Canada". So, blankly staring at the camera with a plastic smile and ignoring the debate is what gets votes huh?

I am terribly disappointed with Canada.


shitharperdid.com if you haven't seen it already.
MMironov / April 16, 2011 at 01:37 am
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Mere competence is enough at this point. Conservative minority.
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