Today was the Liberal leadership debate at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto.
I liked the format, three candidates on stage, responding to a question in turn, then open debate for 5 minutes. All candidates responded with about two sentences of french, then switched to english. Lip service, essentially, and a bit insulting. The short format also tended towards very superficial treatment of the topics.
A few interesting exchanges. Brison and Kennedy savaged Volpe on the topic of same-sex marriage. Brison, Dryden and Dion couldn't find anything to disagree on with respect to the gun registry. Dion's english really is a liability, I hate to admit it.
The best exchange came when Rae, Ignatieff and Martha Hall-Findlay debated Canada's role in the world. Who came off the best in describing their vision? I think Martha did. She laid out a vision of leadership in Afghanistan that was forceful and realistic.
Rae and Iggy tussled early and took up the whole debate with their fight. Ignatieff accused Rae of inconsistency in his views on the Afghan mission. Rae shot back that he should talk, having changed his mind on the Middle East three times in the past week. Iggy took the hurt approach, mentioned their friendship of 40 years. Rae started to apologize, when Martha tried to end the fight, ultimately yelling 'Gentlemen!' before they stopped. She said that while this made great television, they were all Liberals and this argument had nothing to do with the issue.
If applause was any measure, Findlay won hands down.
What is a Martha Hall Findlay supporter called? Marthite? Marthanista? MHFer?
Whoever wins the leadership, they MUST bring her on side. She is an asset to this party.