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Thursday, February 21, 2008

welcome to the charisma hour! live-blogging alberta's leaders' debate.

Welcome to liveblogging of the 2008 Alberta Leaders' Debate.

6:28 PM: It looks like the Mr. McLean and Mr. Markusoff from the Edmonton Journal's Election Notebook will be giving me a run for my money as those two intrepid journalists try their hand at liveblogging the debate.

Game on, Gentlemen!

6:39PM: We need change. Change. Change. Change. I think the leaders have said "change" at least 50 times by this point.

You can comment on CBC.

6:41 PM: Short commercial break... thoughts so far? After a short technical glitch, I finally have the debate on fully...

6:44 PM: For some blatantly partisan Tory liveblogging, make sure to check out my friend Blake's blog at albertatory.

6:45 PM: Kim Trynacity asked a question to Taft about health care. Taft gives a decent answer. Hinman responds, talking about incentives for hospitals? C'est quoi? Innovative ideas... sure. Ed Stelmach is talking about a health care high school...

6:49 PM: Paul Hinman says "I agree with Mr. Mason" and tears a hole in the space time continuum.

6:53 PM: CalgaryGrit and Joel Kom are liveblogging too.

6:54 PM: This is a pretty disappointing debate so far...

6:58 PM: I'm watching the CBC coverage. Duane Bratt from Mount Royal College is on talking about the back to back health care questions. I feel like I'm watching TSN... the coverage style is fun...

7:00 PM: Segment #3 is beginning! Let's get some more questions! "Convince the viewers that you are a leader and a strong leaders for Alberta!" IN 30 SECONDS! GO!

7:01 PM: Kevin Taft: "Charisma never built a hospital or balanced a budget."

7:02 PM: Stelmach isn't actually doing that bad. So far, they've all been cut off. Brian Mason: "My wife thinks I'm charismatic."

7:05 PM: Phew! All the leaders think Alberta's a great place... it's a pretty unfair question to ask for responses in 30 seconds...

7:08 PM: Graham Thomson to Kevin Taft: Is it time for a policy to slow down the oilsands and Alberta's heated economy? Taft gives a pretty solid response, need to pace development and respect the environment.

Stelmach is attacking Jean Chretien!!!

7:11 PM: Hinman attacks Stelmach: you're not listening to industry, you're listening to your heart. Brian Mason sob story... it's about the little people, not big oil. Stelmach cares about the little people - Alberta is a beacon of hope.

7:14 PM: As I predicted, Stelmach is doing better than people predicted (which really isn't saying much considering the expectations were pretty low). He answered the leadership question pretty well, but has stumbled on other questions. Mason has been pretty aggressive. Taft is staying collective and picking his fights, but needs to get in there more.

7:18 PM: Taft: "If you protect the environment, you protect jobs and the economy." Taft did a pretty solid job answering the question on the environment.

7:20 PM: Stelmach is sticking to his script, but isn't really animated. He should show more emotion.

Brian Mason is spending most of his time attacking Kevin Taft. Taft fires back at Mason for flip flopping the NDP position on emission caps.

7:29 PM: I just did an interview with Global Edmonton for a mid-debate reaction. Check me out on the 11pm news!

7:34 PM: I'm sitting with a bunch of crazy New Democrats while I watch this (including Sherwood Park NDP candidate Katherine Hay).

7:36 PM: Stelmach: "A ten year plan to get rid of homelessness is ambitious."

7:46 PM: So far, I think Taft and Mason are doing the best, but in two very different ways. Taft is keeping composed and together with his message. Mason is spending most of his time on the attack. Stelmach in the meanwhile is sitting back as Mason goes after Taft. Stelmach is doing better than I thought he would. He's staying on message, but remains a mysterious cardboard, he needs to show some more life or any kind of emotion. Not sure there is a clear winner yet...

Thoughts? Comments?

7:55 PM: Closing remarks!

Brian Mason used his time to attack the Liberals, Conservatives, and Big Corporations.

Stelmach: We believe in free enterprise, everyone else believes in government control.

Hinman: People can spend money better than politicians and bureaucrats. Don't be fooled by the other parties. Wildrose Alliance is a common sense option.

Taft: Last closing remarks. Time for Alberta to take its place. 37-years is enough of one government. Time for a change.

Best closing line of the night: Mount Royal Poli Sci Prof Duanne Bratt: "well... Ed Stelmach got through the debate."

More detailed comment and analysis coming soon...


Adam said...

David you little cherub! I'll have to check in with you throughout the eve, as I try to conquer my lady-friend at Scrabble. Don't worry, old boy, the debate will be on in the background.

jonathan said...

Thanks Dave, I'm stuck without Edmonton television here in NYC.

Anonymous said...

jonathan: the CBC website has the debate live on video.

jonathan said...

darn it! Thanks for the tip.

jonathan said...

Paul Hinman is a nice guy, I've talked to him. But man, does he love his ideology.

Anonymous said...

The Poli Sci prof providing commentary on CBC summed up the debate best - Taft, Stelmach, and Mason all solidified the votes they already had, while Hinman performed well enough to sway some of the undecided towards his party.

Anonymous said...

Wow, having watched a few Question Periods, I didn't expect much from Hinman, but he held his own. He's clearly the only option for true fiscal conservatives and just might play the spoiler for Stelmach.

No clear winners, but I think Stelmach did the worst of the four (still better than I expected, though).

jonathan said...

Was it just me....did the Green deputy leader really freak out Portia Clark?

David said...

Dave, I think you're wearing rose coloured glasses. Taft seemed to whine more than once -- and how about that hyperbole!

"people are dying as we speak!" (aren't they always?)

"Alberta could get wiped out" (how's that for fear mongering?)

"School roofs are leaking!" (shrug)

They are all duds, but Taft had a golden opportunity and blew it.

Anonymous said...

The most important question never got asked: where did Ed Stelmach's upper lip disappear to?

jonathan said...

David: I think the reason he referred to school roofs leaking, is that they are leaking.

As for hyperbole: "They are all duds" is a good example.

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it, but Mason and Hinman likely stole votes from the Liberals and Tories respectively. Stelmach did better than expected. Taft blew his golden opportunity - he can no longer say Stelmach has no plan as Taft articulated zero policies, managing only to identify problems and promise to study them.

It looks like we won't have a Liberal government after all.

David said...

Yeah, Tafty just informed me I live in Beirut.

It's not going to work, guys.

No hyperbole: All these leaders are duds.

jonathan said...

I suppose you miss Klein, who struggled to spell out "NDP-NEP" in the last debate.

Anonymous said...

is it just me or did Taft come off as extremely creepy? It just seemed like he was trying too hard.. how about at the end: "If you see me, come taaalk to me!" ~leans towards the camera with big eyes~

I don't think this debate won him any votes. I agree with the previous statment: Hinman and Mason are the big winners here.

David said...


I'm sorry dude but, much like this current edmonton oilers team, our field of leadership candidates is just not great. They are all nice and honest, but just not great.

I'd take a Klein-Decore faceoff any day.

David said...

For most of us in Alberta, the doom and gloom from Taft will ring really hollow.

Anonymous said...

Taft looked good, but is it enough? I dunno.

Stelmach is a tool.

Full marks to Hinman - he was the best of the night.

Brian Mason makes me want to squash him. He IS Jack Layton's clone.

David said...

In terms of personality, Taft is more like Layton than Mason is.

Anonymous said...

Taft looked good?? I must have been watching a different debate...

David said...

Why are you moderating comments Dave?

jonathan said...

I'm not totally sure how Hinman wins this one? Basically I heard this from him:

1) Governments bad
2) Families can solve problems on their own

I was half-expecting him to take a wrecking ball to the Legislature Building with a bunch of families cheering him on.

True enough, he may get some attention from fiscal conservatives....but....

Glen said...

Hinman won that one. Taft and Mason broke even. Stelmach didn't collapse but he didn't see Hinman coming, that's for sure.

aManOnaJourney said...

The media and voters slammed the same debate format when it was used in the federal election.
Did the Parties agree to this format?

Mason - neighbors annoying dog that yips at your ankle
- he took the low road whenever he could

Stelmach - great great Grandma Enid is more engaging (and she been with the angels since 1971)
- memorized his script very well

Hinman - shouldn't he be at home taking care of the children?
- the 'Reform' agenda lives!!

Taft - too polite and reserved
- closing comments about saying hello if you see him on the street ....wft??? .... amateur candidates usually say the same thing.

an opportunity lost ....

Brian Dell said...

As I explained on my blog, I thought Hinman could've been clearer that our policy is neutrality across choice of child raising (since at the end of the day that's the platform), but all in all I think I should have pushed harder in my riding to get people to watch the debate. If we are truly polling as low as some surveys say, this debate could have only helped us.