I should have wished I won the lottery. Or the Mercedes Benz draw my bank is having.
I was watching the Canadian Leaders' Debate on TV tonight. This one was in English. Jack Layton, the leader of NDP (our Ralph Nader, remember) asked Martin how he could improve our healthcare when immigrant doctors were driving taxis. At that moment I wished someone would ask this question again. Boom! The very next question they had a guy from Ontario, some Mr Sultani, ask the Prime Minister of Canada why they don't recognize immigrants' skills and qualifications and why they had to struggle.
This is very important - in Canada the first generation immigrants always have to struggle to establish themselves - it's their kids who get the fruits of Canada, should they wish. BTW Mr Sultani spoke from his living room which appeared well furnished. Yeah, I notice these things.
I was wrong here when I said the debates would be boring. They were not. I heard yesterday's French debates were boring. There was no such problem today. The English debate contained some good fireworks.
Harper: How can Mr Martin be concerned about my private advertisor's money when he misused the public advertisement money? Zing!!!!
Martin: I went on American TV and told the Americans they were wrong (on softwood lumber dispute). Mr Harper went on American TV and told them we (Canadians) were wrong (on Iraq). Take that, huh, huh, uhuh?!
Martin (to Duceppe, the French guy): My kids are born and raised in Quebec and you are not going to take their country away with some backhanded vote. Zing zang zoom!
There was also one unbelievable comment.
Layton: I believe if there were more women in Parliament, it would be less rowdy.
This from the guy who is married to Olivia Chow. Jack, Jack, you haven't met some of the women I know. Women have a lot of ideas and are often, um, more vocal advocates of their positions then men. As Antonia says on her blog, "maybe that's because they're stuck in the back benches, Jack".
And then the gaffe.
Duceppe: Even if I want a sovereign Quebec... Ok, so long bye bye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Gille!
My general impression would be that Martin won the debate over all. Harper started well but he remained in that monotone emotionless state. Imagine a robot talking. That's him. It starts off in an interesting manner but then you hear the same speech again and again. No passion. Martin demonstrated proper emotion when required (i.e. Quebec separation, Americans, Canada's future). These were issues when Harper could have done something, but instead he went back to reading his notes.
Martin started winning it from when he was talked about healthcare benchmarks and continued to rise from there. When asked on his record and politician's promises, Martin replied, "Last time I promised to do something about fixing healthcare. I said I would have a conference with the premiers, I did that. I said we would have healthcare benchmarks within 2 years, and we got them within 1 year."
Then came his moment. Duceppe (our French separatist guy), who was coasting so far by insulting the Liberals, completely became unstuck by Martin's vigorous attack on him. When talking about the Clarity Act, Martin passionately advocated a Quebecor's love of Canada and warned Duceppe about stealing his country from him via some obscure and abstract referendum. From that moment on, Duceppe was a rambler, repeating his statements and lost whatever coherency he had in the English debate. You had to see it to believe it.
Martin even managed to convert me over to his day care plan. The Conservatives argued that giving everyone money (very little of it) was good as we were giving them choice. I liked it as it would mean $1200 per year per kid. And as we know, we desis have a lot of ...
But Martin then asked the question, "giving money is fine to those who have daycare. But what about those who cannot find anyone to care for their kids? Who will look after them? Your plan won't create spaces for them, and the money is not enough to pay for daycare. My plan will make spaces for them."
Layton was Layton. He wants to solve all of Canada's problems and ills and tax everyone to do it. Rich pay for the poor. Stand up for everyman. Noble, unrealistic. I like his party. I really do like him. But I just can't find myself that leftwing.
Duceppe lost it when Martin ambushed him on Clarity Act. He kept rambling and repeating from then on.
Martin's line, "Who thought we would be debating surpluses" shows how good Canada's economy is. So, Liberals, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Tags: Canada Election Debate Paul Martin