Doug Rutherford

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Once More Into the Breach

April 2011
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The last of the candidate forums took place Wednesday evening and again, there was little possibility of calling this a debate. This was sponsored by CBC and included an online Facebook feed and Twitter component as well. I was hoping to live blog the event but discovered that, when the hotel said that WiFi was available for the event, it just wasn’t available in the room where it was held.

The format was slightly different, in that the candidates answered questions from the floor and telephone and did have a chance at rebuttal after their earlier chance to answer. However, each of the candidates supported the various concerns, be it reducing violence against women or increasing the amount of affordable housing.

Some of the obvious things that appeared were the standard issues. Some of the candidates are very unfamiliar with the difference between Federal and Provincial/Territorial responsibilities. This was apparent in the answers on free entry staking mining and when discussing education as part of their answers. Much of the time, candidates read their responses from party platforms and their answers seemed flat and uninteresting. In one case, Ryan Leef, the Conservative candidate, refused to answer a question on how the candidates felt about removing support for abortion counseling. His response, that he knew little about the subject so it would be improper to answer, drew a bit of ire from the crowd.

Tweet image

Not all of the questions proposed were asked due to the two-hour time limit on the event. However, a point of note was that some issues, such as health care and the long gun registry, were not brought up in the discussion.

One aspect of many of the responses was the amount of time candidates spent referring to their history. One tweet from the Twitter feed dealt with this: “when a candidate speaks about himself, he has nothing to say.”

Tweet imageWinners? Losers? Most of the comments on Twitter and Facebook suggest that John Streicker, the Green Candidate, was the most passionate and informed. But, in the long run, I don’t see where these forums actually accomplished a great deal.  There should be a more structured debate format rather than the current one next time. The current format does nothing to allow you to differentiate between the various parties and probably adds little to deciding on whom you’d choose.

For all intents and purposes, there should be little more to the campaign. The leaders are all running around safe ridings to ride out the last few days and avoid doing a “Kim Campbell” at the end of the campaign. Few big issues will come forward to prevent making any mistakes in the final days. Now, the main thing that remains is wondering what will come from the NDP polling results, a trend you probably will not see extended to our riding…


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