Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I think Martin did it 

It was a brilliant move, both strategic and meaningful.
Martin grabbed the headlines from tonight's debate by his announcement that he wanted to dump the "notwithstanding" clause. Here's the CBC headline:Martin says he would ban notwithstanding clause
And here's the CTV headline: Martin vows to end federal notwithstanding clause
And Canadian Press: Martin targets Harper in debate, vows to end federal notwithstanding clause.
Not only did he get the headlines, but he got them with an issue that truly represents the basic difference between Liberals and Conservatives.
Lets review: the most offensive thing Harper is doing in this campaign is playing politics with Canadian rights -- and sneering at Canadian gays -- by encouraging the wingnuts in his party to think they can repeal same-sex marriage. And he keeps lying to Canadians by saying that he wouldn't implement a repeal by using the notwithstanding clause, when in reality this is the ONLY say such a repeal could be done.
So for Martin, its the perfect issue for the last two weeks of the campaign. Ending the notwithstanding clause demonstrates to Canadians that Martin is totally serious about making sure our rights are protected -- while reminding people just how far apart he and Harper are on basic values.
As for the rest of the debate, I thought Martin generally did better than I expected. Harper did pretty well, too, though he lost it a couple of times. Duceppe had a complete meltdown -- about a third of the time, I couldn't understand what he was talking about when he was babbling about long-forgotten incidents or insults. Layton was overall good, too, though he got pretty preachy by the end.
And I liked the format -- it was spirited but controlled, no one was yelling or out-shouting the other, and I think just about everybody got their chance to state their case and reply to the other one's points. I thought the moderator did a very good job -- his questions didn't pull any punches and yet were asked in a respectful tone.
And sometimes, often for several tantilizing minutes in a row, we saw rational discouse break out -- four intelligent, thoughtful, knowledgeable men engaging in a vigorous discussion about the future of the country. Only in Canada, you say? Pity!

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