Decision Canada 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

English Debate #2 recap

Well, an exciting two hours of television is done, and it’s time for the pundits to talk about who won and who lost.

It started off poorly for Mr Dithers, saying “my vision of government ethics is honesty… it is also about telling the truth”. For most of us, those are the same thing.

Layton made the next odd statement, in saying “I think a big part of (the lack of civility in the House) is not having enough women in Parliament”. I guess he’s never heard Landslide Annie talk. Civility isn't a gender issue - it's an individual issue.

The blockbuster of the evening – Martin committed to removing the notwithstanding clause of the constitution. More on this in a bit.

Martin dithered again on handguns, saying, “we have 500,000 handguns in the hands of collectors that are one break in away from being used in a crime”. I thought that after he stated he would ban all handguns, he relented and said that collectors and target shooters would be allowed to keep their handguns. Following that quote, he said again he would ban all handguns.

After admitting that doctors offices are privately run, Martin stated that, “any money the federal government is putting into health care is going into public health care.” Maybe for him – he whips out his Visa when he goes to his family physician, but for most Canadians, our provincial health care system pays for our visits to the family doc.

The tax questions went better then I was expecting. Harper made a very good point – the 30% of the lowest income Canadians will not benefit from any income tax cut.

Martin stated that he “(doesn’t) know any country that can touch Canada in what we’re doing”. Well, he sure wasn’t talking about health care – we’re ranked 30th. He wasn’t talking about cleaning up the environment – our greenhouse gas emissions are going up. He wasn’t talking about the economy – our unemployment rates are higher then the OECD average – and higher then the individual rates of Japan, the UK, and the USA.

The national unity question – Martin was stammering and stuttering worse then we have ever seen. He seemed genuinely afraid to answer direct questions from Gilles Duceppe – or from Harper or from Layton, when it comes to national unity.

The biggest part of the debate, as I mentioned before, was Martin promising to withdraw the notwithstanding clause. This would, to use the left’s term, Americanize our constitution, and gives judges the final say on the law. This works for the Americans – they have congressional oversight on the appointment of judges. As we have seen – if one of the parties is very uncomfortable with a judge, they will ensure that he or she does not go through the nomination process. In Canada, the Liberals have embraced the appointment of judges by the Prime Minister alone, without any meaningful input by Parliament. This, when combined with removing the ability for Parliament to overrule the judges, gives the Prime Minister the powers of a dictator. The laws of Canada will no longer be up to the elected representatives of the people, they will be up to the Prime Minister and his group of cronies.

This frightens me. The PMO already has too much power – and this removes any potential oversight by Parliament. If the Prime Minister wants something, under Martin’s plan, it will be done, and anything that goes to the Judges will be ruled on, essentially, by the Prime Minister’s closest friends.

To wrap up – the clear looser was Martin. He couldn’t stand up to Duceppe and the separatists, he couldn’t stand up to his own promises, and he couldn’t stand up to his record. The Winner? Duceppe did ok, but it was pretty clear that this was a throwaway for him – tomorrow’s French Language debate matters. Layton kept stammering about a third option – better then Ed Broadbent, but it was a one-hit wonder. Harper… he did well. He looked and sounded prime ministerial – no huge bombshells, but he remained solid. With Harper seeming more and more to be the man to beat, that pretty much counts as a win.


  • _Third option, third option, third option. Thank you, I'm not the only one who noticed that, noticed that, noticed that.

    By Blogger Classic, at 8:39 PM  

  • Notably Mr. Martin's comments that a Liberal government would attempt to amend Constitution to prevent federal use of notwithstanding clause caught our attention. Mr. Martin's commitment to the proposed change is hopefully the nail in his political coffin. Our current system is a way that the legislatures, federal and provincial, can secure the final say is retained by the elected representatives of the people rather than by the courts. Steve Paikin was very efficient and made the debate very successful for viewers.

    By Blogger Kimlid, at 10:54 AM  

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