I think it was a lovely idea to schedule the current campaign with a built-in Christmas break...
(Holiday break? Don't make me go there!)
...because, after two straight evenings of debate and analysis, I am maxed out.
I don't want to think about or hear about Canadian politics for at least - a day or two.
That said, here are some impressions:
First of all, the debate format was awful. It didn't seem so bad during the French debate but maybe that was because a good part of my focus was on understanding the French. When I could just sit back and listen in my own language the following night, I found most of it excruciatingly boring; talking point after talking point, most of which I'd already heard numerous times.
Martin will protect the country.
Harper will clean it up.
Layton will do good things if only we ELECT MORE NDP MPs.
Duceppe wants out because of the FISCAL IMBALANCE and oh by the way the Liberals are corrupt.
I strenuously hope they do something about the format for next month's debates. Something that will allow the leaders to address each other, limit the speechifying, but remain a little more orderly than last year's debate.
Perhaps if they would just BEHAVE, we could manage it?
Or else we'll have to STOP THE CAR RIGHT NOW AND GO HOME.
(Sorry, I thought I was somewhere else for a moment.)
And nominate some female leaders because they are less rowdy. Layton said so.
As I was watching, I imagined people in the ROC* asking themselves (or perhaps yelling aloud at the TV) "Why is Duceppe there?"
I think the answer is, what was the alternative?
If he had not been invited, that's a slap in the face to English Quebecers because it says that the English debate is not meant to include Quebec issues. That is NOT the message they want to send.
If he had been invited but declined, that speaks to his credibility as a Canadian politician which IS what he IS at the moment. It also belies his interest in including all ethnic groups in Quebec.
Perhaps Quebecers (especially the Separatists, and I use that word on purpose) ought to take a look at how these debates were organized. Yes we have two official languages which have to be included but it could have been set up like Parliament - everyone just speaks whatever language they choose and the translators are kept busy.
Instead, there are TWO sets of TWO debates, TWO evenings each of lost commercial revenue for the networks and TWO nights in a row that the pundits have to come out and dissect things.
Does that not tell Quebec how valued it is as a part of Canada? Or something positive, at least?
I'm not going to comment much on Martin's performance - it was as okay as it could be I suppose, especially the "You will not take away my Canada!" speech, which at least woke me up for a bit. I am somewhat concerned about the Celucci book thing and am anxious to learn more about it.
Layton did his thing with a bit too much repetition, and Harper went over way better in English than in French. I was not amused by the hockey team analogy but since this is getting long I will leave that for another rant.
Duceppe remains the smoothest performer and I respectfully suggest he set his sights higher than leading a regional movement. He might be Canadian Prime Ministerial material himself. He certainly has the passion, now all we have to do is channel it in the right direction!
* ROC = Rest Of Canada