Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Nous proposons des propositions" vs. "Mes ministres suit les reglements" - The Debate Points Most People Missed

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I posted that the real scandal of Options Canada is that buffoons like Duceppe are still here to discuss it... you'd think at least our corrupt politicians could be corrupt in an effective manner!... But really, the scandal here is that the leaders of the three national parties can't speak French properly.
Though I'm forgetting much of it for lack of use in an anglo CEGEP, my French is still strong. Our Prime Minister didn't conjugate the verb "suivre" properly, leaving it singular when discussing his ministers. He repeated the error a moment later, though I've forgotten what the subject of the verb was... I was just shocked that back to back he could miss a simple plural-singular conjugation. Jack Layton didn't sound very intelligent either, when he said: "nous proposons des propositions," which translates to "we will propose propositions." Bravo. I didn't quote Harper in the title, because his mistakes weren't blatant, though his accent is AWFUL.
After that long-winded intro, I'm going to discuss some points which may seem minor to most, but which I picked up on and thought were interesting.

  • Liberal confusion on mandatory minimum sentences. Justice Minister Irwin Cotler spoke out against them, but in the debates, Paul Marting spoke repeatedly for them. "The position of this government is in favour of mandatory minimum sentences."
  • Camera angles. I didn't see it tonight in the French debate, but last night the cameras kept zooming inwards/upwards for Paul Martin, and a few times for Stephen Harper. The visual effect was like a campaign ad that gives someone a respectable grandfatherly look, which I imagine is how "Uncle Louis" would have looked on TV back in the day. I know it's not my imagination, because after noticing it, I took benchmarks to make sure, and at one point the cameras got a third of the way up Martin's tie, after being far enough back to see all the buttons and his lectern.
  • Duceppe's a hypi. Hypocrite, I mean. Is Canada divisible? Yes. Moderator to D: "Is Quebec divisible?" -No. If you're going to justify Quebec separatism as Quebec being a distinct society/nation, how about recognizing Montreal as a distinct society that doesn't share that many values with rural Quebec. Linguistically, it's got the highest proportion of Anglos, and culturally, the greatest ethnic diversity, with Jews, Muslims, South-East Asians, Russians, and Blacks from the Carribean constituting considerable cultural communities (which, incidentally, Parizeau famously blamed for the 1995 referendum defeat. I don't know if he was right, but it'd make this Montreal Jew damn proud :) ... up yours Parizeau :P)
  • The purpose of Canadians' work. Layton had a freudian slip that the MSM (mainstream media) let by, but which I thought was interesting and possibly indicative of his ideas. Canadians "work hard enough to pay their taxes," said Jack. Hate to break it to you, but much as I may be a Canadian patriot and nationalist, I'm working for my own purposes. Not to pay your salary, Jack m'boy.
  • Supply Management. I'll admit to being uninformed as to how many Canadians work in agriculture. But are there really enough to ask a technical question on that particular industry? From what I know, ~70% of us work in the services industry, so if any industry was going to be targeted for special attention, why not that one?
  • Real Quebeckers. Again demonstrating that his French is weak, Stephen Harper phrased a request for "real Quebeckers" to join him in supporting federalism in such a way as to make it sound like the separatists aren't "real Quebeckers". Though I agree they're supporting an idea that's never going to come to fruition, making them idealistic fools, he didn't seem to choose his words right just then. It may be just me, but my friend heard something similar...
  • Question Period, and Maturity. Martin articulated something I've noticed and that's been bothering me for a while. Question Period in Parliament is a pathetic waste of taxpayers' money, as our MPs act like little children and ask stupid insulting questions that are usually dodged or hurled back. Ironically, I gained respect for Goodale for answering with (what sounded like) facts, though this whole income-trust scandal makes me wonder at how much of a straight-talker he really is. Oh, and another irony is that Martin's camp has a bunch of attack ads out.
  • Duceppe wants us to know he's literate. What other explanation can there be for him reading both his opening statements, when none of the other leaders did so? I can arguably understand him doing that for the English debate, but in French?? He can be a decent orator at times, but that was poor, and looked lazy.
  • Duceppe's got jokes. "[The Libs' attitude is] Not seen, not caught." "He is a living democratic deficit." "Mr. Chretien here, sorry, Mr. Martin ... the slip is because they're so similar." Gilles Duceppe's either got some mad skill for improvising disses to Paul Martin, or Scott Feschuk's secretly defected to the Bloc and is writing his quips for him. You can always write QOTD's for some honest centrists, here, Scott.
  • Smiley-boy Stephen. Harper's been criticized for looking cold and not smiling. It seemed attenuated tonight, but the man couldn't stop grinning last night, like he had a subheading on each page of his notes reminding him to show grinning lips and flash some teeth. It was kind of odd to hear him talking about important job losses with upturned lips...
  • Quebec PM Charest. This former federal conservative turned provincial liberal got the thumbs-up in both debates from Stevie. Maybe Steve-o figures Charest's 28% approval ratings are from the same people supporting him?
  • The Eternal Opposition Doesn't Care Who's PM. Layton and Duceppe said so. Personally, I think Duceppe's lying, cuz it's a lot easier to make federalism look crappy with the corrupt Libs in power. In fact, I'm prepared to bet that's why he's emphasizing his claim that Option Canada was a federal (not just liberal) scandal, citing Tories and Dippers as part of the scheme. Layton probably doesn't care because his positions are split between favouring Harper's ideas and Martin's.
If you've got your own funny verbatims from the debates, or interesting points many people missed, lemme know, and I'll drop you a link.
Tomorrow I intend to post my transscript/notes on the first debate. Tonight I didn't have the opportunity (saw it partially at a friend's then midway went to my place, because she had to go somewhere).


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