Though Feisty the Debate Changes Little

The four major party leaders squared off Tuesday night in the first debate of the campaign.  The atmosphere was feisty with Mr. Harper calmly deflecting criticisms of his leadership. 

The Conservative angle for the election is to achieve its first ever majority government. Mr. Harper’s polemic last night kept coming back to the instability of a minority government. He asked Canadians if repeated elections was something they wanted. To counter his opponents’ attacks Mr. Harper kept bringing up his government’s economic accomplishments. The debate may not have brought him new supporters, but it does not seem like it cost him any either. 

The debate was a first for Mr. Ignatieff who performed well. His criticisms of the government were sharp. However, he did not define himself clearly as a possible prime minister. The debate did not bridge the gap in the polls between him and Mr. Harper.  

The leader of the NDP on the other hand shined during the debate. Using folk wisdom he sharply attacked the Conservative government and Mr. Harper for supporting the big corporations. Mr. Layton pointed the finger at Mr. Harper saying “You’ve become what you used to oppose.”

One of the biggest concerns in public media is the current government’s disrespect for public institutions. Mr. Ignatieff echoed the sentiment by repeating the phrase “Anything you can’t control, you shut down.” 

Elizabeth May the Green party leader, was ultimately not allowed to take part in the debate. Her party holds over 6 million of Canadian votes.