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The Toronto debate

Sunday's debate in Toronto was quite the entertainment. The clear winner of the debate was Martha Hall Findlay who, with one word, brought the house down.

But this debate has been extensively covered by just about every blog on Canadian soil so I won't rehash it yet again.

The debate took place in Toronto the same day as the Toronto Marathon, so, concerned about parking, I parked much further from Roy Thompson Hall than I needed to. We headed up there and arrived about an hour early, working our way to the Dion table inside of the building. We picked up an armload of stickers, flyers, and other paraphernalia, and went back outside and stood next to a gaggle of Rae supporters handing out Dion flyers. I don't get the impression there are very many people left who are undecided, though.

During the debate, Dion went on the offensive, ripping Rae apart, who turned around and ripped Ignatieff apart, while Kennedy did his best to stay out of dodge. It was fun to watch. The energy level in the room was tremendous. The whole room reacted to everything that was said. At the debate in London a few weeks ago, there was constant polite applause, but nothing like this.

I thought it was interesting that Dion got the question on the environment, Ignatieff got the question on foreign affairs, and Brison got the question on gay marriage. The fits were often perfect.

Dion's English has often been criticised through this campaign, though I'm not too concerned by it. As Allan Bonner said on Politics yesterday, if Canada can get used to Chrtien, we can get used to anyone. Dion's English is merely French with English words. Quite understandable, if a little strange for people who don't speak both. "You don't know of what you speak," he said at one point. No-one has any doubt what this means, in spite of criticisms, and it is even easier to understand when you realise it is a literal translation of "tu ne sais pas de quoi tu parles."

After the debate, which was attended by a true who's who of Ottawa politics and punditry, we headed up to the pub where Dion's after-debate party was being held. We found a table with a couple of spots open, and grabbed seats, striking up conversation with the other occupants of the table.

One of them eventually left, and the other turned out to be fellow blogger A View from the Left.

Eventually Dion came in and shouted out a few words to the room, but we were too far to make them out. Shortly thereafter a camera and reporter came in, and it soon became apparent that it was This Hour has 22 Minutes. I'm curious what they're going to do to the clip they took there.

Later on, I met another fellow blogger, BC Undecided, who assures me that Undecided does not refer to the race. We talked for a while and then on my way out I met Jason Cherniak.

All round a pretty interesting day!

Posted at 08:43 on October 17, 2006

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From dog days to doggone debates | leadership politics | Debate #2,871: Montreal


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