Last night, Canada experienced its political leaders arguing with each other in English.
I won't claim I listened to all of it - the leaders' debates are seldom effective tools unless one or more of the parties has a leader that is a good debater...and none of our current leaders hold such promise.
This was a more orderly, civil debate than some I've seen in the past, but that's about all I will give it. (Was that a result of Elizabeth May sitting at the table? Hard to say)
My basic impressions of the leaders:
Harper: Two things stood out for me with Harper. One, he refused to be accountable for his government's lack of action in key areas. Two, he continued his "but ... but ... the Liberals' whinge instead of actually having a platform of policy.
Layton: This guy's so desperate for the keys to Stornoway that he spent half his time attacking Harper, and half his time sounding like he was in Harper's pocket. Creepy and greasy.
Dion: I thought he did better than I had expected for the most part. That may be a case of exceeding low expectations, I'm not sure.
Duceppe: If the man wasn't a separatist, he'd actually be a serious contender for the keys to 24 Sussex. He is by far the most articulate of the bunch and he thinks fast on his feet. Pity that his brand of politics is purely Quebec centric.
May: I'm sorry to say it, but I thought she was disappointing. Too much time setting the evidence out, not enough making her point. Perhaps next time she'll do better.
The debate itself told me a lot - fundamentally, what it boils down to is the Conservatives are running a campaign that boils down to not saying anything substantive. The party has not made its policy platform known - which given this bunch means that they know that Canadians would be horrified by it.
I won't say that I'm impressed with any of the parties at the moment - it's going to be a case of casting my vote where I'm least disgusted.