Debate Thoughts 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

In addition to Jim Elve's thoughts and the comments that follow it, here is some more reaction from the blogosphere:


In case you're wondering how Canada's public broadcaster covered a debate between the three candidiates for Leader of the Opposition, Newsworld was showing Antiques Roadshow. Your tax dollars at work, folks.


It's funny - not too long ago I was mocking Clement for his lame webpage (now improved, mercifully), but right now I think he's my preferred candidiate for the leadership. Who says campaigns can't make a difference?


Clement has an attractive persona--eager, caffeinated, and admirably quick with a joke. When Peter van Dusen asked him how he could lose the Ontario PC leadership and his Assembly seat and still consider himself "electable", he cracked "By the way, Peter, are you still on my Christmas-card list?" Harper is still a bit Quaalude-y, but training has made his manner a little less autistic and a little more intimate. Clement has been after Stronach like a mongoose tussling with a cobra (pouring on the polite abuse doubly when speaking in French); when Clement tried to go the other way and turn van Dusen's question against Harper, complaining about the poor Canadian Alliance showing in Ontario polls, Harper promptly scored the deepest stiletto jab of the first hour, saying "Well, Tony, I believe the record shows I'm the only person on this stage who's won an election of any kind in the last two years." Zing! He's learning how to play to the crowd, all right.


All three candidates performed well, but no one was head-and-shoulders better than the rest. They all made good points; one was clearly aggressive and passionate (Clement), another more tentative (Stronach) and one constantly on the defensive but cool (Harper). But because Harper held his own and, by virtue of his front-running status had the most to lose, if anyone did win, it was him. He was calm, composed and looked leader-like.


Candidate performance marks:
Harper: B+
Clement: B-
Stronach: C-

Taylor: (seeking CPC nomination in Kingston)

The Stronach supporters and Harper supporters were out in full force, filling much of the hall. Clement's supporters had a modest showing equaling roughly one third of either the Belinda boosters or the Harperites. There were many Conservative senators in attendance and Peter MacKay was also present. Harper's supporters in the hall were of all ages, while about 90% of Stronach's supporters, in the hall, were under 25.


There was no clear winner. Every candidate seemed to perform as they needed to perform. However, I would give a special nod to Ms. Stronach. Many of her detractors believed that she would have crumbled under the parliamentary debating experience of Stephen Harper and Tony Clement. However, she continues to impress and has clearly shown today that she not only deserves to be in the race, but also deserves serious consideration for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Brennan at Titling at Windmills:

My final assessment is that I'm more comfortable with Harper than I was and less likely to support Stronach. Clement put himself on the record for improved health care funding which I like, and I also think ideas like the PBO are good ones. At the moment I think I'm leaning towards him, but I'm a long way from making a decision.

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