Well apart from Jack Layton stumbling over his french and apparently refering to Quebeckers as "tornados" at one point, Debate #1 proved that it is still possible to produce television less stimulating than Alan Thicke. All four did well enough at getting their message out I suppose, with Duceppe looking the most nervous, and Harper looking off to the side each time he finished as if seeking approval from his school-marm.
Martin seems to have picked up a little wind in his sails from playing Captain Canada against the hapless U.S. ambassodor (Williams? Wilson? Wilkinson? Oh, who knows?*) I half expected him to show up in a cape after this week's histrionics. In fact, early on he gave the appearance he had just stepped off one of his steamships, he was swaying so much from starboard to port. He almost made me sea-sick watching him.
I thought Layton was the most convincing, partly because he has learned to be less dweebish in front of the camera. But he loses points for going over his time and getting duly chastised from the moderator.
I noticed Duceppe decided to downplay the idea that this election was the beginning of the road to another referendum on separation. You never know with him. Some days it's a major first step (especially if he's sharing a stage with Andre Boisclair in front of the faithful); other days, we get a back-pedaling performance like tonight's. Which is it?
Ah, and then there's Harper. He did not disappoint, calling the Liberals criminal with such verve he actually lost that shy new smile for a moment.
Perhaps the most illuminating thing was how Radio-Canada's post-mortem on its Le Telejournal news managed to completely ignore the fact that Layton was one of the participants. Their report showed a couple of minutes of clips of the other three, but had no time at all for the beleaguered chef du parti nouveau-democratique. Afterward, host Bernard Derome, perhaps the most respected broadcaster in Quebec, failed to direct the conversation to Layton or anything he'd said even once during a three-minute segment with a political analyst (forgive me; I didn't catch his name). The other three leaders got their due, which really left me scratching my head. As difficult as live TV is, this oversight was disturbingly unprofessional.
*check the 4:20 P.M. entry
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