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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stephane Dion asks for question again and again (and again)

This could make Question Period very interesting.

(ed. UPDATE): Here's Mike Duffy Live on the Dion flub:

Hearing impairment? Really? This Liberal talking head is trying to get away with what is obviously a screw-up on Dion's part. It has nothing to do with Dion's "hearing impairment" (something I've never heard of before), but his comprehension impairment.

(Hugh MacIntyre. Update)

Maclean's Andrew Potter is calling Mike Duffy a "despicable human being"

Two things should be noted.  First of all Dion clearly heard the question.  He did not say I don't hear, he said I don't understand.  What is more is that he repeated parts of the question back and did not once ask for the interviewer to speak louder.  Hearing was not the issue, so there is no question of attacking any disability.

Second, James Moore looked dazed not resolute to refuse to be drawn in.

The comparison with poor Stanfield is far more apt than with Chretien. 

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on October 9, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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This is not the kind of person we want to see as PM. Can you imagine the wars -- literally! -- that this fool could start when meeting with foreign heads of state and government?

Dion is an utter disgrace and embarrassment to Canada, and even to the Liberal Party.

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2008-10-09 8:12:46 PM

I have actually heard of the hearing problem excuse before. (I didn't write the last part, the bestest editor in the whole world did).

It came out at the beginning of the election and was generally ignored as being silly. They are trying to do what they did with Chretien in 1993.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-10-09 8:20:26 PM

I actually wrote about his "hearing problem" lie here:


Posted by: Werner Patels | 2008-10-09 8:23:36 PM

The CTV network made the right decision in airing this video, we have a right to know the capabilities of those who aspire to lead the country. Dion just proved he doesn't cut it. He's had the three strikes, so he's out.
The Liberals are used to having the media act as Puffins, hiding their poop,no wonder Jeff Reagan was stunned speechless in shock.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-10-09 8:36:08 PM

I remember the "poor hearing" excuse from earlier in the campaign but it doesn't wash though.

Were there really a medical problem that was resulting in such screw-ups, Dion's handlers would be sticking hearing aids in his ears faster than we could say "Kyoto".

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-10-09 8:36:16 PM

Apparently, he wasn't much sharper in the Mansbridge interview.

Apparently, he has difficulty keeping up the pace.

Fatigued? If you're a one-trick sprinter, what makes you think you can compete in the Ironman Triathlon?

Dion has nothing to offer, no plan other than to formulate a plan 30 days after taking office.

No freakin' clue, just like Toronto voters.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-10-09 8:54:15 PM

There is no question that Dion heard all the words that were said to him. It seems pretty obvious that his problem of understanding the question was because it was a complex verb tense construction that resulted in an unclear question. Steve Murphy first asked, "If you were Prime Minister now what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper has not done."

Dion correctly understood the "would you have done" as referring to the past, but Murphy does not say how far he wants Dion to go back, so Dion takes the question to be asking what he might have done if he had been PM troughout the last couple of years. Then Murphy tries to clarify, but says "if you were the Prime Minister right now". But that was not the time issue that was in question. So when Dion then thought Murphy meant 'what would you do NOW' that was a reasonable understanding.

Then when they restarted, Murphy stated the question differently. He asked: "If you were Prime Minister now what would you have already done in this crisis that Mr. Harper hasn't done." Dion rightly says he does not understand what the time of action is supposed to be. Murphy never said.

Dion even gives him options: "At which moment? Today? Or since a week? Or since two weeks? If I were the Prime Minister starting when? Today? If I were the Prime Minister today?" And Murphy again fails to clarify that he REALLY means 'what would you have done two weeks ago' or something like that.

Dion, I beleive, thought he was having trouble understanding the question because its complex verb tense structure was beyond his English comprehension. But it was actually Murphy's inability to formulate a simple, clear question and then his inability to clarify it that caused the confusion.

Most politicians at this level have the experience to just blather on if they don't understand a confused question, but Dion actually tried to understand Murphy by asking him what he meant. Dion should be advised just to plow on next time.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-10-09 9:08:56 PM

but Dion actually tried to understand Murphy by asking him what he meant...........

But it was actually Murphy's inability to formulate a simple, clear question and then his inability to clarify it that caused the confusion...........
Posted by: Fact Check | 9-Oct-08 9:08:56 PM

Bwahahahahahahahaha. Blame the questioner.Anybody who understands English understood what Murphy asked. If Dion can't understand something as simple as that he isn't qualified to be PM of Canada.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-10-09 9:21:05 PM

I get really tired when the Left disparages a right-ringer as enlessly stupid. Reagan, Palin, Quayle, GWBush. etc.

It's mean spirited nonsense,not to mention repetitive because they aren't held to account by one of their own.

I may not agree with Dion's political positions but I doubt he's stupid. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's tired, hard of hearing, and/or has difficulty with English.

I don't expect partisan Lefties to do the same but then hypocrisy is their bread and butter right after violence and theft.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-10-09 9:21:33 PM

LOL Not even Nick Nanos' skewed polls will be able to pull Dion out of this one!

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-10-09 9:33:00 PM

I don't understand questions that are half present tense and half future tense either. Sure, Dion handled it badly, but it really was a crappy way to ask the question.

Posted by: Ken | 2008-10-09 9:38:29 PM

I have only got a grade 10 education and I had no problem understanding the question. Dion has a PHD.

Posted by: Alan | 2008-10-09 9:53:56 PM

Oh my God this guy is an absolute trainwreck!! The excuse of blaming the questioner is just as stupid as Dion. Of course Liberal attack dogs and excuse makers pop out of the wood work to try and defend this moron, "he has a hearing problem" ?"its to complex a question"? Give us a freakin break...Dion is just to dumb to understand, thats why the MSM have kept him in his protective bubble for this whole campaign. Now we can see why the media consortium manipulated the so-called debates. Could you imagine this guy being in the PMs seat on those nights "can you repeat the question"... This man is trying to be the PM of this country for Gods sake...What a disaster that would be for all of us if that were to come true. Will the MSM pick this up and inform Canadians, or will the threats of Mr.Dions handlers scare the media into compliance, will the media continue to shelter Mr.Dion from the scrutiny that the PM and to a certain degree the other candidates have to deal with in this election ? I think we all know the answer to that. I can hear the Liberal war room now on the phone threatening anyone who dare cross the Liberal party. I watched Dion last night on the CBC and the whole thing seemed surreal, like the whole peice was rehearsed. Some of the things he was saying, at least the ones I could understand were positively mind boggling "We want to come with what we Liberals want", "We want to be the storm we are", "We can not come with Stever Hopper", "We'll come with a carbon tax that you have to pay", Stever Hopper don't like work with otter's. The media shroud has lifted on Mr.Dion, if for only a second and Canadians can now see why the MSM and the Liberals have been bending over backwards to hide their candidate.

Posted by: Sean | 2008-10-09 10:03:05 PM

Oops, I said half present tense and half future tense... I meant half present and half past.

Posted by: Ken | 2008-10-09 10:20:48 PM

Ken, if it is written down in a sentence than you would be right. The verb tenses are confusing when you read it. Yet when you talk your language does not need to be as exact because meaning can be expressed various other ways.

Dion was clearly being asked how he would handle economic issues differently. I don't think anyone has interpreted this question in another way.

The issue here isn't him being stupid. The problem is with his communication skills. Communication skills isn't just a vital skill for politicians, it is fundemental to being a statesman. Dion's inability to express himself is a ligitimate concern, just as it was with Chretien.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-10-10 8:08:10 AM

Yes it was how he would handle it differently, however it was unclear if the question was asking how he would have done in the past or what he would do now.

Posted by: Ken | 2008-10-10 8:45:13 AM

Unfortunately, we now know that Dion was provided at least three attempts to understand the question. Presumably, the folks at CTV would have allowed an unlimited number of such "restarts" for Dion to grasp what is a fairly simple question.

As well, I would like to understand why some advocacy group for the hearing impaired has not gotten involved. Dion's claim makes a mockery of those with serious disabilities.

Posted by: The Truth Hurts | 2008-10-10 8:59:18 AM

Yes it was how he would handle it differently, however it was unclear if the question was asking how he would have done in the past or what he would do now.
Posted by: Ken | 10-Oct-08 8:45:13 AM

Refresh my memory. Was there a bank, mortgage, financial meltdown two years ago?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-10-10 9:16:31 AM

Who's scary now?
An economist with experience in being a Prime Minister who according to universally respected organizations has steered Canada towards the top economic position in the world.
Or a Marxist professor with limited English and zero economic skills treating Canadians as lab rats for a sociology experiment by radically changing the tax system during a global economic meltdown using the enviroment as an excuse to fund his test.
Oh, and by the way it's agreed even by Liberals that the revamped tax system will have no effect on controlling green house gas emmisions.

Posted by: bocanut | 2008-10-10 10:54:14 AM

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