Monday, December 19, 2005

Sovereignty Over Life + Paul Martin is a coward

I've added another essay to the sidebar, one on Euthanasia. As you could probably guess, I come out squarely in favour of it. It's a philosophical essay, so if you're looking for emotionalism, you won't find it.

Meanwhile, I've started contributing at another blog, Centrerion. It's meant to be an amalgam of centrist views. So those of us with no principles, shakey principles, vascilating principles, wavering principles, or just plain undecided principles should definitely head on over. I'll toss up my first post here:

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 Chr├ętien without the courage. Because Jean Chr├ętien, 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.


At 12/19/2005 3:05 p.m., Blogger Scott Tribe said...

Hmm.. I'm a bit unsure about this line of reasoning - from 2 points:

1) Didnt the networks and for that matter the other parties all have to agree to this debate format change? The Liberals cant sutomatically dictate what format they want.

2) One of the reasons the format got changes is that everyone was disgusted the last time around because all 4 leaders were yelling over 1 another - as if it were in Parliament - and it was agreed it turned a lot of people off. Now we have a new format (similar to what the British do with their leader debates) and all of a sudden, more civility is more boring?

At 12/19/2005 3:57 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

As to point 1), the networks and parties had to agree, but I have a feeling the Liberals were pushing for the current format. They can easily dictate what they want by refusing to participate in anything else.

As to point 2), yes, civility is boring. What we have isn't a "debate"; they might as well just give the leaders each a half hour of face time and let them talk. The four yelling over each other is really more indicative of the leaders themselves than it is of the format. Plus, it would be easy to strike a balance - for instance, limiting the interaction to one-on-ones.

At 12/19/2005 4:46 p.m., Blogger Ogilvie said...

Since Mr Martin was unable to answer the reflagging question, I'll answer it for him: After removing the Canadian flag and firing the Canadian crew who were earning $11.68 an hour, Mr Martin was able to replace them with Filipinos, who received only $1.78 an hour. The story is documented thoroughly on the CBC website.


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