Quebec election - Post-debate thoughts
I managed to watch about 75% of the leaders' debate last night on TVA - for whatever reason, RDI is not part of the basic cable package in Atlantic Canada, and Radio-Canada didn't feel it necessary to show the debate out here!
I did not expect great things from Jean Charest, given the rough first term that he has had, and his two great failures to do much about his promises to reduce wait times and lower taxes. That being said, he generally seemed to be calm and controlled, and on top of his dossiers. He is really playing up the "look what a constructive partner in Confederation can get out of Ottawa" card. Although he was the main focus of the attacks last night, he fared reasonably well. It wasn't a particularly dynamic performance, but it won't hurt him either, I suspect.
I have never had the opportunity to hear André Boisclair speak for more than a brief sound bite. I was rather surprised at how reserved and quiet he appeared to be, fading into the background, and under the volume of the other two leaders. His exchanges with Mario Dumont were the most interesting, with Boisclair continually repeating the same pointed questions at Dumont, which Dumont tried to dodge. I was not particularly surprised, but was amused, at how Boisclair only spoke of a referendum once during his opening statement, and then it was almost as an afterthought at the end of a statement, with his voice dropping as he delivered that part of his speech. Like Charest, I don't know that Boisclair will be hurt by this performance, but he certainly didn't come off as either charismatic or dynamic.
Mario Dumont had the most to lose from last night's debate, and I think it did hurt him. He came out like a pitbull, attacking the two other leaders in an aggressive fashion. However, the other two seemed determined to show up the lack of depth in his plans, and his lack of experience. He had few responses for their pointed questions, and looked out of control at various points. His catch phrase "People will say that a vote for the ADQ is this or that, but a vote for the ADQ is a vote for the ADQ, and if that is what you want, it's a vote for you" (my rough translation) is incoherent bafflegab. He's definitely aiming for small and medium sized communities with his very heavy emphasis on families, particularly those who don't use the daycare system, and on support for small business. It won't win him much love in Montreal, but it might just sell in the regions and in Quebec City. His platform will win him little love outside of the province - as someone who lives outside the province, his question attacking Charest regarding the lack of "demandes" from the federal government in the Liberal platform presses all the wrong buttons for me.
One thing is clear - the real show is next Monday's federal budget. Charest is promising results from his cooperation with Ottawa and the other provinces, and Dumont is waiting until after it comes down to show his numbers. And so we wait another week...Recommend this Post