Last night in Montreal, the four party leaders debated the issues and even made up a few of their own. Here, I summarize moments that caused befuddlement.
First of all, the absolute “bombshell” of the debate was Paul Martin’s desperate Hail Mary attempt “in the dying moments of the fourth quarter” when he proposed that we should re-open constitutional debate in this country! One wonders if the Liberal platform underwent an emergency rewrite and if on-call Liberal constitutional academics were up last night trying to scaffold Martin’s eleventh hour proposal.
Now, let’s reinterpret these terms in the language of Paul Martin’s rhetoric.
‘The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is fundamentally flawed’ — Paul Martin
Furthermore, didn’t Paul Martin say that he would use the notwithstanding clause to protect religious freedoms regarding same-sex marriage?
A humourous, slapping of the forehead came courtesy of Jack Layton when he summed up how socialists think and how they cause conservatives anxiety.
People work very hard to pay their taxes — Jack Layton
Jack, we don’t work to pay our taxes. Taxes make our work harder to do! We don’t go to work everyday and put in that extra effort to put that “value added” factor into the government’s purse.
Another couple of moments during debate night that had me shaking my head was Layton’s comments surrounding the Chaouilli decision.
First, Layton asserted that he would use the notwithstanding clause to protect public healthcare.
By this he also says that he would use the notwithstanding clause to nullify the Supreme Court of Canada decision that stated that a person’s fundamental right to life and the right to a decent quality of life are being violated by the current public system which doesn’t provide adequate service.
If you wanted to go find the best possible care, even for a price, Jack Layton would use the notwithstanding clause to remove your rights to life and quality of life. Why? Because it’s his ideology.
I was astounded at the moment that Martin labeled questions about government accountability and corruption (on the topic of income trusts) by the moderator and three opposition leaders as ‘not worthy of debate’.
Another head-shaking moment came when Jack Layton (and then later affirmed by Paul Martin) said that more women in Parliament would help ‘calm things down’. Stereotyping never wins votes.
Ad hominem might be the undisputable hallmark of a lost debate and Paul Martin pulled out all of the stops as his back was against the wall.
“Mr. Harper, the United States is our neighbour, not our country.” — Paul Martin
Further, on a question of values about swingers clubs, Martin instead thought to bring up the specter of American conservatism.
This display only confirms that Paul Martin is on his way out and he’ll be throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Stephen Harper.
What will be especially interesting is how Mr. Martin plans to explain his desire to open up the constitution to Quebeckers regarding the notwithstanding clause. Did Paul Martin write off Quebec in order to scare some of his constitutionally-conscious constituents into fearing Stephen Harper on same-sex marriage? Will Paul Martin try anything to stay in power?