Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« 72 Chippendale's Dancers? | Main | Quebec and the cold »

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hit the deck

Much has been made of Paul Martin's tirade against Duceppe in the Dec. 16 leaders debate (full transcript here). Many called it the moment of the evening. Yes, it was passionate, yes, it was good TV. But maybe everyone thought it was so good because we preferred to be distracted from the question. And keep in mind that he didn't answer the question. In fact, none of the leaders did. The question was a live grenade tossed into the middle of the affair from Don Matheson from Deseronto, Ont.;

If the PQ hold a referendum, ignore the Clarity Act and then declare Quebec to be a sovereign state, what action would your party take?

I venture a guess that half the country was momentarily holding their breath after Matheson spoke. The question was prompted by Boisclair's statement just before the election call and you will remember that Paul Martin at the time replied with equal passion and no real answer.

This morning the blogs and the MSM are buzzing with Harper's offer to debate Duceppe one-on-one in French after Martin refused. Matheson's question may not come up in a Harper/Duceppe face-off, but it is the one that Quebec federalists will have on their minds, and is probably the question in the minds of those who live in provinces that border Quebec.

[Added: Harper's strategy seems to be, let's head it off before we get there. It's a dodge, but over the long run, a successful dodge. Martin's confrontational answer--satisfying as it was in the moment for those who prefer style over substance--makes it more incumbent on him to answer the question. "Mr. Martin, you say the separatists are not going to take your country away from you. So what are going to do if they try?"]

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 21, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Hit the deck:


While that would be half of the viewers, not half of the country, but I will admit that I was surprised at the question. We have heard what Harper will do, but Martin still says he will continue what the liberals have been doing. He seems to think his record stands for itself, so let it. Judge him on his record. His party allowed the Bloc to make a come back due to liberal corruption. The liberal plan has not worked. They are not willing to try something new even though Martin did support giving Quebec a voice at UNESCO ( http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2005/12/and_speaking_of.html ). Martin flip flopped on his Unity plan. Perhaps that will be one of his major downfalls. When is a flip flop justified and when is it lying?

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2005-12-22 7:47:07 AM

please don't reference the "full transscript" to the leadership debate to the leftist ctv site which has photo captions extolling the "passion" of martin and the "participation" of mr harper. the transcribed portions they provide are obviously slanted to show martin for what he is to the ctv not to average voters outside of the quebec wing of the liberal party of canada.

i have all the questions and answers (no beginning and ending statements) in mp3 format on my blog. anyone interested in what they actually said, instead of the spin reported by the red press can be found at http://ottawacore.blogspot.com

Posted by: Ottawa Core | 2005-12-22 9:15:37 PM

Actually (and no I am not a MSM apologist), recent comments are suggesting to me that there is and has been a shift in some of the MSM. I saw Duffy (Mike) ask some fairly pointed (even if obvious) questions of Martin [and no in most cases he avoided answering]. While his interview of Harper was friendly and worthwhile (no loaded questions and he did ask some pertinent questions -- pertinent in that they are relevant and made Harper & the Conservatives look good and the Liberals look bad). As well, good ole' Duffy was on Rutherford today and he indicated quite forthright that there was a shift in the MSM's attitude towards Harper & the Conservatives (I said shift, not love-in).

Now the question begs, how will things go starting in Jan? I suspect things will be desperate and dirty. However, the MSM is already predicting the mud slinging and I think (hope) that if/when the slinging starts, the MSM will slap the Liberals and Martin with being the instigators. As well, Martin is stuck between losing people to Harper and to Layton and Martin and crew has to be careful about how much mud it slings.

I'm not getting optimistic, but I have to admit things sure seem different from last time (right now anyways).

All that I know is that I've told my wife not to bother with a Christmas gift this year. I told her that I hoped to get it 23 January. Only 32 days to go!!

Ed the Hun

Posted by: EdtheHun | 2005-12-22 9:40:54 PM

Core: That Martin responded with passion is precisely the point. That's all he had: he didn't answer the question.

Look at what happened afterward. Harper doesn't answer the question, but said something like, I prefer not to go too far down that road and maybe we can find a solution before we get there. A day or two after he's in Quebec, talking about a solution.

Martin doesn't answer the question, but instead blusters confrontationally, and then blusters some more after the debate about meeting Duceppe on every street corner etc. Commentators chortle, boy he sure showed him. So Duceppe says, okay, and challenges Martin to debate and Martin chickens out. And now Martin looks bad.

Harper says I'll debate Duceppe. And Martin looks worse.

The question remains unanswered. A commentator yesterday on Duffy (or CBC, I can't recall which at the moment) from Alliance Quebec noted Martin hasn't responded to the PQ declaration that they would declare sovereignty if they won a referendum, and they made that declaration earlier this year. Federalists in Quebec are very aware of the gap in the record and they are waiting for him to answer the question.


Martin cornered himself when he went into his passionate speech. People said they liked the noise. But they are asking, okay, so now where's the substance? Martin won the moment but that was all.

The thing about playing a rope-a-dope strategy; you can't let your guard down and if you have a glass jaw, don't stick it out. Martin did and he got belted. This is still sinking in with people.

Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2005-12-22 10:54:16 PM

my issue is with your referencing the Globemedia/Liberal Party of Canada CTV broadcaster. it should be readily apparent, with daily incidents of their overt bias reported on the blogs,eg. http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/003197.html that their not so subtle slander may impact the unsuspecting browser. i would shy away from any references pointing to their pages. god knows what kind of crap they can discern from their logs.

the point i tried to make about martin's passion and harper's participation should scream loudly from a wordsmith like yourself. it's the choice of terms which colour our thoughts. i can feel the oozing slime but i'm in the trade too. utterly subliminal to the majority of viewers...i don't think so.

the real issue, if anyone wants to access the questions and answers, is that martin does not answer ANY questions, layton is selling cars, duceppe shouldn't be there, and harper answered everything like he was speaking to the questioner directly. i'm not sure if anyone ever picked up just why it was that the moderator began cutting off the answers, without warning, at 18 seconds for supplementals when she initially gave 30. quite upsetting i would surmise. the question that she began the new timing also provided martin to go 30 seconds while everyone else was 18.

if anyone wants to access every question and every answer i have it on my blog at:

it'll be there for all blogtime. i will be adding my comments when the holidays are through.

Posted by: Ottawa Core | 2005-12-23 10:26:12 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.