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Bonjour, je m'appelle Ryan. I have another blog, BlueGrit. I will also be contributing here. So let's get to it:
Gilles Duceppe finally got to respond to Paul Martin's rhetorical flourish during the English debate, during which he attacked Duceppe head on - in the brave fashion of attacking someone bound and gagged by the idiotic format of that debate. Duceppe said, "'If you're so proud of being a Canadian, Mr. Martin, why did your ships use flags of convenience? Why did your ships fly a Liberian flag, a Cypriot flag?'"
Good one. He continued, "[Paul Martin is] like Jean Chrétien without the courage. Because Jean Chrétien, at least, was willing to engage in debate."
It really speaks to the fundamental weakness of Paul Martin - that is, he can't debate. The Liberal leadership debates between Martin, Manley and Copps featured the candidates sitting down, with little direct interaction between them, and held on weekends when no reporters would be around. Clearly, that format was chosen by the Martinites, who lest we forget controlled about 95% of the party at the time. This weakness was further highlighted in 2004, when Paul Martin got smoked in both the French (by Duceppe) and English (by Harper) debates. The reason for that was that he had to actually debate with the other leaders, something he very clearly can't do. So this time around, the Liberals were sure to demand a debate format where Martin could attack without having to defend. Frankly, it's cowardly. I hope Martin wins the election, but Canadians are done a disservice when they go to watch their political leaders debate, and end up seeing a two hour campaign commercial. Even the Bush-Kerry debates were better than these ones, and that's saying something.
Duceppe very clearly agrees with me, as he wants a change. I couldn't agree more. I'm just as sure a change in debate format would be better for Canadian voters as I'm sure there's no way Martin would ever agree to a change in format.