Wednesday, December 21, 2005

But how mad would Tories be if Martin had accepted!!!

So, Stephen Harper will "stand up for Canada" and Paul Martin won't.


This decision by the Tories for Stephen Harper to debate Gilles Ducceppe one-on-one on French T.V. is smart politics by Harper, but I don't see how Martin could have avoided this.

If Martin had agreed to debate Ducceppe one-on-one on French T.V. the Tories would have had a stroke! They would have screamed bloody murder, and called it another shallow, arrogant Liberal attempt to frame the Quebec election as a two-sided referendum election, and to perpetuate the "myth" that the race in Quebec is a two-party race.

The Tories would have been infuriated, OUTRAGED(!) and they wouldn't have let the Liberals get away with it. Now that Martin has refused to a one-on-one debate with Ducceppe which would have left Harper and Layton to suck their thumbs, the Tories are "infuriated" that Martin would "back down" before the separatists, and will "stand up for Canada" themselves. It's hypocricy of the worst kind, but it's smart politics. Martin was damned if he did, damned if he didn't, and I'll be interested to see if the media points that out.

I'll also be interested to see if he tries to get back in. It seems to me that an easy argument could be made that while Martin realizes that only two parties have much of a chance to win seats in Quebec, he wasn't willing to go so far as to subvert democracy by debating with Duceppe without Harper and Layton present. And it'll be interesting to see how Layton reacts to all of this. It'll also be interesting to see if it's even legal to have a televised debate between two party leaders, excluding others. Plenty of people were upset that the Greens didn't get to debate on T.V., and they don't even have a member of parliament. Now we're going to have a leaders' debate without the current Prime Minister? A debate between one man who's caucus is exclusively from inside Quebec, and another man whose caucus is exclusively from outside of Quebec? Sublime, meet ridiculous.

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Jim said...

This decision by the Tories for Stephen Harper to debate Gilles Ducceppe one-on-one on French T.V. is smart politics by Harper, but I don't see how Martin could have avoided this.

He could have avoided this by not being a Canadian federalist blowhard, for starters.

Had he not shown such bravado during the debate, then even if Stephen Harper challenged Gilles Duceppe, we wouldn't be having this conversation on the excellent politics of it because it would have been much easier to dismiss.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I see your point Jim, but still, it seems as though you're saying that Martin was too vocal in "standing up for Canada", and that's why we need to attack him now for not being vocal enough in "standing up for Canada".

Again, Martin is in a box. When he passionately speaks about unity, he's a federalist blowhard using over-the-top bravado. When he refuses to be drawn in to a one-on-one sovereignty debate that excludes the other federal parties, he's "refusing to stand up for Canada". There is a middle ground here I'm sure, but political rhetoric being what it is, I have a feeling Martin would have better luck dancing on the head of a pin than finding it. He was going to get attacked for this no matter which way he went, and I just think we should keep that in mind when analysing his tactics.

Jim said...

I'm saying he was too vocal at a time when he knew his position couldn't be responded to - he put on a strong show when the person he was accusing of destroying his country couldn't respond back.

Then, when offered a chance to confront the individual destroying his country, he wouldn't, or couldn't, do it. Either way.

It's not each individual incident that's got me riled, it's both together. Mr. Martin's passionate plea for unity amounted to a press release, and not a position he seemed willing to defend.

Now, that's just my perception - I'm not saying that Mr. Martin wants the country to split, or he has no desire to fight for Canadian unity. But, if he's going to attack, he needs to defend too ...

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Good point Jim, and I get that, and I certainly don't disagree.

It'll be fascinating to see how this develops. Christmas is in four days, so it's still possible this could have ZERO effect on the election, depending how things go over the next few days (hours?).

I'm interested to see how Layton feels! :-)

Anyway, stay tuned everyone. This could end up being nothing, or everything. But it'll certainly be interesting.

Mike said...

I'm sure Jack will say something like "Canadians are more insterested in preventing the privatization of healthcare" or something to bring the debate back to the actual issues.

Althought Robert at MyBlagh has rumours of and armwrestling match...

Erik Sorenson said...

Actually, I suspect that the CPC would rather have enjoyed seeing the spectacle of Captain Chicken being sliced and diced by Gilles.

So Captain Chicken was in a lose-lose situation either way, and all due to his very poor imitation of Churchill through his (now infamous) rendition of,

"I’m going to meet him on every street corner, in every city and in every town and village in Quebec."

Cluck, cluck. Cluck, cluck. Squawk.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


Personally, I doubt this debate will actually end up happening, but while the CHALLENEGE is clever strategy from the CPC, actually winning the debate could be another ballgame all together.

Challenging a separatist to a one-on one debate looks impressive. LOSING a one-on-one debate to a separatist (which, let's be frank, could realistically happen), THAT might not be so smart. I don't disagree that Martin probably would have lost one-on-one to Duceppe. But many will tell you that Harper will get TROUNCED. We'll have to wait and see, but a thumping from Duceppe is not going to help the Tories is it?

wonderdog said...

Martin's smart move would have been to decline by saying it was inappropriate to hold such a debate without the other party leaders being present. That would have made it much harder for Harper to step in.

As it is, Harper has to be worried now that Duceppe might accept.

Ted L. Nancy said...

Wonder nailed it.

Jack said...

And the funny thing is Duceppe has declined on his debate challenge as stated on CBC

Dylan said...

What does Harper have to lose by accepting the challenge? Quebecers think he's full of shit any way you slice it. If he does well, a few voters may come the CPC way - but not enough to stop the Bloc train. If Harper does poorly, well, Quebeckers will just be reminded of what kind of loser Harper is.

Martin does not need to accept the invitation because it's the candidates that are going to do the vote swinging, not the leader. Many Liberal candidates are running on their current track record as being upstanding members of Quebec society and the fact that the Liberal party is the only federalist party that has historically proven itself in the province.

ferrethouse said...

actually winning the debate could be another ballgame all together

He wins the debate just by showing up. The image of him squaring off against the separatists while Martin sucks down his twentieth coffee of the day prior to giving yet another heart felt melodramatic speech somewhere else would be devastating to the Liberals.

But it won't happen because Duceppe chickened out. Harper makes a modest win on this one. Next topic...

Jason Cherniak said...

Debates can only help underdogs. Harper has nothing to lose against Duceppe but a lot to gain. For Martin, it is less clear. Joining the debate could open up huge possibilities with a win. However, a loss one on one could kill the Liberal campaign. Duceppe could even go easy on Harper just to make Martin look bad! Meanwhile, in turning it down, Martin can stand on a point of principle that Duceppe is a separatist who does not deserve his own debate.

OO!! Martin should challenge Harper one and one!!!!

deaner said...

"He wins the debate just by showing up."

Exactly. As well, it is hard to argue that Harper "is in bed with the separatists" if he was willing to debate Duceppe and Martin was not. That argument is weakened even further to the degree that Harper "loses" the debate.

Clearly, Martin lost this issue as soon as he started in on his (scripted and rehearsed) Captain Canada schtick. A clear indication of how badly the Liberal brains-trust mis-read the situation; even if they had estimated Harper correctly, Duceppe's acceptance of the mock challenge was unanswerable, although they might have gambled that they would win more in the RoC than they would lose in Quebec - I think they are down pretty-much to their absolute minimum there. Harper showing them up, was the coup de grace. What a gang of idiots.

Mark Francis said...

Merry Christmas!

And, best case, the CPC would gain votes, Bloc would lose, and Liberals would benefit.

Otherwise, status quo.

Laurent said...

Politically incorrect... with style!