I was up 'till 2:30 last night watching the National Leaders English Debate (as any of you who follow me on Twitter know full well...). If you're American you might want to skip this post. Because, you know, it's international politics so it really doesn't matter.
In case you don't have over two hours to watch the debate's entirety here are the general impressions. If you're Canadian, though, I do recommend viewing it. And then voting. Because you live in a democratic country and you better appreciate that. Just watch a news clip on Libyan rebels for a little perspective.
I'm not anti-Quebec. I've lived there and I have struggled to try and form some degree of pride in our dual-heritage. My redneck friends aren't helping and neither are the separatists. It's extremists that make me want to swear off French. A shame and something that's not going to do Canada a bit of good.
Oh, and taking a question about immigration and using it to yell at Layton about bill 101? Not classy. In the end I just want to laugh at Duceppe's obvious agitation, singular agenda and pronunciation of "ghetto," (geeto) and "ship." I'm sure he's owning in today's French language debate.
Layton also went out of his way to slam the Liberal leader for supporting certain initiatives brought through by the Conservatives. Look. Nothing wrong with that. If it's something they can support then, for crying out loud, support it.
NDP's economics freak me out. Jack Layton will appeal to the buy-now pay-laters. People without foresight. In short, the NDP will win a few seats thanks to socialist votes. I think high-spending socialism is something Canada has taken to far already. Layton, however, is also the most engaging of the four leaders. The one that I can most easily imagine buying his grandkids ice cream. He was well spoken, at least.
There is really no argument that the three participating opposition leaders pounded away on Steven Harper throughout. Ignattief contributed his share in attempting to paint the Conservative party as one full of scandal. Expected, I suppose, given the historic coalition and the contempt of parliament against the current minority.
The Liberal leader did, however, bring some valid points to the table. He is fairly adamant that something must be done to remedy Canada's falling reputation on the international stage. He was the only leader who pointed out that an American justice system doesn't work. He was also the main voice for initiative in healthcare that begins with education and Canadian effort.
Ignattief readily stated that he's fond of the idea of raising corporate taxes. He figures this will fund extensive moves in post-secondary education, in child-care, in green initiative and in international policiy... For a start. Certainly strong promises.
Harper was steadfast and brought replies to the table that focussed on his party's commitment to easing the deficit and lowering taxes in a bid to improve the economy. In my opinion Harper was the only leader who willingly laid out strong economical intent. He also stated several times that we're in the throes of an election "that Canadians didn't want." He's actually being ballsy enough to say he wants a majority so he can get things done.
Harper may hurt himself with an endless focus on tax cuts. What do Canadians really want? He's refusing to make promises in regards to the international stage and the environment. Healthcare is a major debate that I did not hear any definite conclusion to from Harper. Medical coverage is something embraced by all Canadians that is not going anywhere.
Harper doesn't have all the answers. He certainly doesn't have all the election promises. But if they country wants a stodgy follow-through on solid economic effort he may be in the right place.
I don't actually like politics. They will not be making a regular appearance on my blog. I will, however, be voting. If you're Canadian then I expect that you will be too.