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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Newmarket Debate review #elxn41

Last night was the Newmarket Chamber of commerce all candidates debate, well not quite all candidates as the NDP Candidate was unable to attend and the Animal Alliance Candidate was present but unable to debate.

At the big table we had Lois Brown (Con MP), Vanessa Long (Green), Kyle Peterson (Lib) and Dorian Baxter (PC)
Some one please email me a picture, my Camera was not charged.

For the most part the candidates were largely respectful, that is if you don’t consider lying to be disrespectful. It is after all the new norm in politics where facts are not facts, experts are not experts, quotes are not quotes and there is no shame in lying.

I’m not going to detail all the minutia of the debate but I will say that it was not entirely what I expected. Brown as always was frustratingly calm and totally shameless in not answering the question or robotically repeating her programmed talking points. I was rather annoyed that when asked about proportional representation she went onto a tirade about seat division which in my opinion is no where near as important as insuring seats are proportional to popular vote. I don’t get it, why not just say you’re against PR rather go on about conservative attempts at gerrymandering?

She also made a false claim that it takes a constitutional change to alter the voting system. As I understand it how we vote in not detailed within the constitution but simply decided in the House of Commons. It doesn't even require a referendum, referendums are simply ways of confusing the issue so much you can make sure it won't pass, as we saw in BC and Ontario.

I don’t know if it was simply an error or the sign of a new police state but Brown clearly stated that she supported police demands for funding that would bring give us 1 law enforcement personal for every 7 people in the country. WTF? Not only that but Peterson the Liberal supported the number unaware it was wrong or insane, lest he be seen as less tough on crime.

Other items I found distasteful from Brown were the claims that the Conservatives were making good progress on greenhouse gases and claiming the Copenhagen climate meetings were successful. Yes so successful that Canada received numerous Fossil awards for their lack of progress internally and our interference with progress internationally.

Dorian Baxter, the President and one of only 9 remaining Progressive Canadians candidates left was his predictable bombastic self attacking the Conservative party and Brown when ever he could. As a perceived fringe candidate he could make blunt and aggressive attacks on issues like government trust, lying and the contempt of parliament charge leaving Long and Peterson to look reasonable and stately which was a good place for them to be. On one public question about Canada’s changing role from peace keeping to regime change he called out the Liberals and Conservatives for involving us in unnecessary foreign conflicts, while they defended our foreign entanglements as just and necessary.

The biggest disappointment of the night was Kyle Peterson whose nervous speed talking, occasional stammers and obvious lack of policy depth left him the weakest of the 4 candidates on the stage. Peterson’s only “on his game moment” was a slam at Brown about Conservatives attempting to steal Guelph ballot boxes. Peterson does not seem to be the candidate that can bring Newmarket-Aurora back into the Liberal fold. I don’t know if anyone short of “star” quality candidate like Belinda could revitalize a local party that was desperately searching for a good candidate last fall, it would appeared from this debate they failed.

I won’t fixate too much on my Candidate Vanessa Long, she started a little nervous but with Peterson next to her turning beet red most people never noticed. Her answers were spontaneous and thoughtful rather than stale and rehearsed and the crowd, despite being well stuffed with Liberal and Conservative faithful seemed to respond well. Vanessa was strong on the environment, did a great job of explaining the mechanics and benefits of a carbon tax, the need for local strong economies, and electoral reform. She made a great closing statement and her “ask” for the vote was certainly the best of the night.

From the audience response and supportive comments Vanessa received, it’s obvious that when strong Green candidates get to talk about their long term vision it will resonate with many people. Whether that’s enough to break decades and sometimes generations of habitual voting we’ll have to see.

I hope I’ll be able to get some edited video to add to this post later in the week.

For those of you with Cable, the Rogers debate was recorded today so check your schedule.
The Aurora debate will be held at Aurora Town Hall Wed April 20 7:30

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