Friday, August 07, 2015
The First Debate: Hitting Harper Where It Hurts
I wish I could give last night's debate a more glowing review, but I just can't.
I didn't think the opposition leaders gave Stephen Harper a hard enough time on the things that matter to me, like Bill C-51 and the way that monster has raped our democracy and our values.
But most Canadians care more about the economy than they do about our freedoms.
And in that regard our three leaders did hit him where it hurts.
Stephen Harper found himself playing defence Thursday as his rivals tried to pick apart his economic record during the election campaign's first leaders' debate. The Conservative leader's opponents attacked him for leading a government that ran eight straight budgetary deficits through one recession and an ongoing downturn that some believe is a second recession.
And this admission is worth its weight in gold.
At one point, even Harper himself appeared to agree that Canada was, perhaps, in a recession. The Tory leader managed to maintain his composure during the barrage, but NDP Leader Tom Mulcair did get the normally optimistic Harper to acknowledge that recent data showed the economy had taken a turn for the worse.
The exchange began when Mulcair pressed Harper on the fact government statistics revealed that the economy contracted for five straight months, leaving it one month shy of a technical definition of a recession. "But according to a lot of observers, we're already in a recession," Mulcair said. Harper immediately cut in with a response: "Mr. Mulcair, I'm not denying that."
Because for weeks Harper and his hapless stooge Joe Oliver have been denying that Canada is in a recession...
And now they won't be able to do that anymore.
And as Tim Harper points out that's really bad news for Great Leader.
Harper — the most experienced debater on the stage — was in the toughest spot, but the bad news for him was that he was weakest when pushed on the economy, another sign that a file which was once his strong suit is gradually eroding as a strong card for a government seeking another term.
And this was the best line of the night.
The Conservative leader tried to reassure Canadians that all was fine with the economy except for an energy sector being battered by matters out of Canadian control. He rattled off the requisite numbers but it got lost in the din, and Mulcair may have got off the line of the night when he said Harper was the only prime minister who, when asked about the recession, could answer, “which one?”
One that the Cons will be running from for the rest of the campaign...
But then this too is true:
Harper probably did not push back as hard as he could. But he didn’t exactly emerge battered and, given his vulnerabilities over almost a decade, there was a sense that given the three-to-one tilt on that stage, the Conservative leader was breathing fairly easy after this evening.
If we are going to destroy the Con regime and its depraved leader we are going to have to hit them harder than we did last night.
But don't worry we will. This is the Final Battle for Canada.
And failure is not an option...
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