After listening in French (now that was a workout) and watching in English it seemed only one thing seemed clear to me about last nights Debates. Paul Martin lost. Of course he was attacked from all sides, that was to be expected, but the attacks were sharp… and his responses were weak.
Though many today are saying that Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe may have “come out on top”, I don’t think there was a clear “winner”. Mr. Duceppe hammered away at the corruption of both the Liberals and Conservatives, past and present. He was definitely feeling the heat from the Conservative Parties apparent resurgence in some ridings around Quebec. I think his performance may have helped a little to dampen that resurgence, but not being a Quebeccer, I can’t really say for sure.
Mr. Harper held is own, even though at some points his (surprisingly good) French failed him. There were a few deer-in-the-headlights moments when Duceppe grilled him on corruption within his party… but in all, he did OK.
Mr. Layton was, I think very strong in his persistent criticism of both Harper and Martin… of all the leaders, he seemed to really want to get the others to respond to his questions and accusations directly rather than adhere strictly to the topics put out by the moderator.
There was another clear loser across all the debates as well, one that deserves mentioning. No, it’s not the Green Party, though their plight at the hands of Canadian Media is bad.
No, the other clear loser was Canadian Foreign Policy. I believe Canadians are both very proud, and very aware of our perceived effect (or lack thereof, depending on your point of view) on the International Stage. Yet in none of the debates do I remember mention of Canada’s role in the World. Maybe my memory is failing me or I simply missed it, but I don’t think so. And that’s a terrible thing. Canada *does* play a huge role around the world. There is plenty to talk about, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Sudan and Haiti. It’s terrible that the media didn’t include any questions regarding these issues in the debates and is yet another reason why the Media Conglomerates have no business deciding what Canadians should or can hear from their politicians.