Last night was Debate Night in Canada. The leaders of the NDP, Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois parties were on National TV last night. The Globe and Mail coverage is in this morning’s paper, and the Globe also published live thoughts from the editorial board. The Citizen slanted the story differently from the Globe and Mail, painting Harper as a victor in the debate. The National Post, surprisingly, declared Jack Layton the victor.
What did I think?
There’s really no way I could vote for Paul Martin in the next election. Everything he said lacked sincerity. It’s clear he’ll say whatever it takes to get elected. That leaves me the choice of Jack Layton or Stephen Harper.
The NDP, frankly, scares me. Aside from their predilection toward taxation and big government, Jack also said, regarding trade, the he believes a strong countervailing strategy needs to be used, “to show that we’re serious when our industries are under attack.” Jack’s in favour of a trade war with the US. Sorry Jack. That’s a non-starter for me.
That leaves the Conservatives. Much of what Harper says rings true for me. I believe very strongly in the Conservative stance that putting spending choices in the hands of individual citizens is a better approach than new government funded programs. His tax cut targeted at families with children is a much better idea than the NDP and Liberal proposals to create scores of federally funded daycare spaces feeding off the federal teat.
However, if Mr. Harper wants my vote in this election, he has to stop pandering to the Christian Right. I believe more strongly in human rights and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms than the Conservatives programs. Harper’s pledge to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage is a complete non-starter for me. As Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said "We already had a free vote on that, so I think we shouldn’t have a free vote on a question that was resolved, every six months." It’s too bad Mr. Duceppe doesn’t feel the same way on the question of Quebec Sovereignty.
There were a few good soundbites:
Duceppe on Government stonewalling during Question period: "Question period should be answer period."
Martin to Duceppe on National Unity: "You are not going to take my country away from me with some trick, with some ambiguous question."
Harper on Government accountability: "The only way to make sure a government is held accountable is to defeat it."
In the end, the debate didn’t help me at all. Jack Layton is still a big spender; Paul Martin is still the leader of a corrupt institution which believes it knows what’s best for me; and Stephen Harper is still pandering to so-con’s. Perhaps I’ll vote Green, or Libertarian.
Oh, and the new format — stultifying.