Decision Canada 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

English Debate #2 Preview

Well, it’s two weeks until E-Day. The polls are looking good, and the Conservative campaign is running smoothly – no musing about majorities (by the Conservatives, anyways, reporters are a different story), no candidates shooting their mouths off – life is good. It is anybody’s game at this point – and the debates could end up tipping the scale.

Here is a preview of tonight’s English language debate.

The SSM issue will come up again, taking the form perhaps of, “Mr Harper, why do you keep bringing up SSM as an election issue”. Martin and Layton will imitate the bobble-head dolls, and throw their two cents in on the Charter of Rights. I’m going to predict a draw on that topic, with a possible Harper edge if he can back Martin into a corner on how giving the same rights is discrimination.

We will see accountability come up here. Look for Duceppe bashing Martin, Layton with the thumb point and Ed Broadbent’s name being uttered once or twice, and Harper laying out the Conservative’s accountability act (with probably a bit of Liberal-bashing). Duceppe and Harper will come out winners on this issue, with bonus points every time they make Martin start to stutter.

Justice will be talked about a bit. This one will end up a Layton/Harper draw, as both seem to have a pretty clear plan. Martin will take a bit of heat for the disagreements between he and Irwin Cotler on the issue of mandatory minimums, although he will fight back with some Harris-bashing.

Health Care… well, Health Care will be talked about. The NDP have wavered a bit on the issue of privatization, I don’t see Layton bringing a perfect performance to this issue during the debate. Martin and Harper will end up neck and neck on this issue – expect to see Martin try to close with accusing the Conservatives of wanting to establish two-tiered health care, probably at the end of the health care session or during closing statements, when Harper doesn’t have a chance to immediately refute the statements.

Taxes will be mentioned… I hate to say it, but Martin’s gonna win it. While the Conservative position makes perfect sense (we are implementing our own tax plan, not theirs), the optics just aren’t there. Martin will call the Conservatives tax-raising right-wing hidden agenda rednecks, to some (albeit limited) success.

All in all, I expect to see a close debate, with a slim Harper win. The expectations for Martin are so low right now, as long as he doesn’t start drooling on the podium he’ll at least stay at the front of the pack.


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