Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Some miscellaneous post-debate ruminations

Short analysis: I'm sticking with my original forecast of a Tory minority. I think Harper's momentum isn't quite as vulnerable to the sort of savage deflation we saw the last time around. If last night's debate is an indication of how the party leaders are performing for their constituents, then I think we will see a very close race. The Tories are likely to make significant gains, and I think the NDP might well reclaim some seats they've been in the habit of losing to "soft" voters intent on defeating Tory gains.

I'm not sure how to read Gilles Duceppe's performance, or the overall mood of la belle provence. He isn't cagey or evasive, which I would think has to play well. On the other hand, he isn't cagey or evasive about his ultimate goal - separation from the rest of Canada - which won't play well with ambivalent voters.

Overall performances: Harper stuck to his "Let's all take a deep breath and just calm down a bit" approach. His everpresent smile got to be a bit creepy, but I think he communicated his central message ("I'm not as scary as they make me out to be"). Someone needs to tell NDP leader Jack Layton that he doesn't need to open every leading statement with "You know, it's interesting..." Despite these annoying verbal and physical tics (keep those tiny hands off camera, Jack), he managed to nail down the party line: for the last half-year, the other two parties practised a singular politic of convenience over principle.

PM Paul Martin was the surprise revelation. This is a guy with his back to the wall, but rather than looking desperate, he looked invigorated. The man clearly loves a good scrap, and as much as I've loathed his governance and corruption, I've got to say he's a treat to watch.

And finally kudos to host Steve Paikin, who I think is the best interviewer in public television today (contracted exclusively to TVO, to the loss of the rest of Canada).


Trent Reimer said...

Re: Layton - never underestimate the value of a good porn mustache!

I enjoyed the confidence he exuded regarding the NDP's effectiveness as a minority party; with the power to sink or float the ruling minority government.

That wonderful balance of power can only be achieved when there are more than two national players on the political scene and I am finding myself looking forward to another minority government, whether liberal or conservative.

I can only wish for our good friends to the South that one day they might have a third alternative. Would be interested to learn if there are any viable plans for such? If not, the Simpsons' Kodos vs. Kang scenario almost seems inevitable! (Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!)

Whisky Prajer said...

Did you watch the French debates last night by any chance? Layton's nasty 'stache should play well in the land of swingers, one would think. So why no NDP gains in Quebec?

DarkoV said...

Interesting sounding character, this Layton guy. To catch a photo of him, I googled and got this, among others, pic op.


Seems all of the candidates needed an audience the Dalai Lama. Funny thing is all of them wore some kind of white shawl. The Dalai did not correspondingly wear one in the pictures, except for the phot op with Paul Martin. Was the Dalai tipping his hand as far as whom Tibetan-Canadians should be voting for?

blueskybrightson said...

I heard today from good sources that the Liberals are firmly in free fall. Even in Quebec (and including Ontario). I even heard that a Tory majority is possible. Having been a political watcher for a long time, freefall is a political term meaning danger. Think Kim Campbell.

I don't think it is exactly that kind of free fall, but we need to get used to the term "Prime Minister Harper".

I had earlier predicted a bare Liberal majority, contrary to the wiser Whisky prajer. This ends my career in punditry.

Whisky Prajer said...

I can't quite believe the Grits are spiralling as spectacularly as Campbell's Tories did, but I suppose stranger things have happened. Perhaps the Dalai Lama's white shawl was a bad sign...?

blueskybrightson said...

Not quite as spectacularly, but it is a spectacle. You will hear lots of noise about Conservative majority or Conservative government in the coming days - the white flag of their opponents. I do have to add that the prospect of her Majesty's loyal opposition leader being a separatist is a little disconcerting- but truly Canadian.