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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Newfoundland & Labrador Leader’s Debate

The leaders of the PC, Liberal and NDP parties participated in an election debate at NTV studios on Tuesday evening. With two weeks remaining before voters go to the polls this was the only opportunity for the public to see all three go head to head over the issues.

The opening remarks of the three party leaders were designed to deliver a targeted message and they did just that. While NDP leader, Lorraine Michael, and PC leader, Danny Williams, both appeared calm and composed, Liberal leader Gerry Reid often stumbled over his words, looked tired and came across as very uncomfortable in front of the camera. As one viewer noted, “…he looked like he just woke up and someone hustled him behind the podium before he could wipe the sleep from his eyes”.

While Reid spoke of his party being a potential winner in the upcoming election, the NDP leader immediately positioned her party as the right choice to form a strong and effective opposition. It was a position that smartly conveyed her understanding of the realities of the current political climate and allowed her to effectively take a swipe at the Liberal party. A clear and perhaps effective move to woo voters from the Liberal camp.

The polls show Williams’ popularity in the province at well above 70% leading into this campaign, leaving him with little room to improve his standing during the debate. The leaders of the two other parties meanwhile had hoped to use the debate as a springboard to make up some much needed ground on the Tories.

During the debate Williams accomplished his objectives by holding his ground and getting his message out while the NDP leader, Lorraine Michael, came across as smooth, composed, and calm. This potentially made her the biggest winner of the evening by affording the NDP an opportunity to siphon off some support from her clearly unprepared Liberal counterpart.

During an early exchange the Liberal leader almost appeared to be reaching out to the NDP in an attempt to have Michael enter into a sort of “tag team” against Williams. Michael proved too politically savvy to fall for the tactic and instead countered by going on the offensive against Reid, proving that while she has only led her party for about a year, she clearly understands the realities of the situation. With the Tories riding high in the polls, any additional support her party hopes to gain will have to come from inside the Liberal camp. Michael’s performance, and Reid’s lack of composure, may have served to help the NDP in that cause.

At one point the Liberal leader opened himself up to attack by broaching the topic of Newfoundland and Labrador’s dilapidated schools and blaming the Williams government for the situation. His statement opened the door for the Tory leader to point out that the schools did not fall apart in the short four years the time Williams' government has been in office but rather over a much longer period of time, a reference to the fact that the Liberal party had previously been in power for more than a decade.

From a technical perspective the debate was poorly organized and the format often allowed extended periods when the leaders, primarily Williams and Reid, shouted or talked over one another making it difficult for viewers to understand what either man was saying. While this sort of exchange also took place during periods when the NDP leader was speaking, overall her exchanges were much more civilized and effective.

During the closing remarks Williams and Michael both spoke clearly and calmly. Michael focused on her party and what it could bring to the legislature while Williams stood on his record as premier and invoked the spirit of patriotism and autonomy he is most known for. Liberal leader, Gerry Reid, once again came across as being unprepared and uncomfortable while continuing to stumble over his words as he had done during the entire evening. An evening that was clearly not a good one for the Liberal leader.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting analysis - although your bias is overwhelming. Both Williams and Reid looked foolish in their childish tirades. The evnt last night more closely resembled a wrestling interview than a considered debate of our political leaders. None earned my vote, but thankfully, I'm being asked to vote for my candidate and not their leader. If that were the case, I'd stay home on October 9.

Patriot said...

What bias would that be. Do I support one candiate or party over another at this point in time? Absolutely, but that doesn't add or take away from what happened last night. In fact I've praised and attacked all three parties over the years and will continue to do so.

I agree that the exchanges between Williams and Reid made them both look foolish but you neglectd to mention Michael's performance. She, as I said, maintained her composure throughout and did well for her party.

Also, anyone who denies that Reid looked unprepared, unfocused, bumbling or like a dear caught in the headlights, obviously was not watching the same debate as everyone else in the province was.

Anonymous said...

If the anon wants to read a biased review of the debate, he/she need only saunter on over the the Bond (toilet) Papers for jimminy Cricket's (Hollets) take on it.

I am also left wondering if Hollet and Lono are an item seeing as Hollet is always coming to his (Lono's) rescue, I guess chivalry isn't dead.

Anonymous said...

I made a post to the Telegram blog yesterday regarding the debate and lo and behold it did not get past the moderator. This is the second time i have posted to that blog and had this result. I guess freedom of speech is dead at the Telegram, unless of course you are in agreement with the opinions of certain persons.

Anonymous said...

There were several mistakes made by each of the leaders during the debate. You chose to concentrate your entry on supporting your position that Reid performed poorly. There was no criticism of Williams, despite declining to answer important questions and using the same. You claim that Williams "held his ground". I disagree, holding one's ground would entail defending his position, not deflecting attention to the other parties policies and practices. You assert that Williams "accomplished his objectives". Just what objectives were they - were they stated, or simply rhetoric added by you to support your preferred party leader? Your commentary on "Reid opening himself up to attack" did not include his rebuttal that the current government is enjoying financial relief due to the efforts of previous administrations. Much of your rhetoric is on your impression of Reid's appearance rather than the words that he spoke. A transcript of the debate would show quite differently.
Incidentally, I listened to the original broadcast rather than watch the television production. My rationale for this was that acting skills hold some importance in getting your point across, but they do not carry the weight that the words and policy positions do. Visuals also can create emotional responses, rather than a fact based comparison. Perhaps the lack of visual impression explains the differences that we have.
Try listening to the debate and focusing on if the leader had:
- Answered the question posed
- provided relevant rebuttal of criticism
- Focused on the immediate issue
- Shared their party's vision
- Supported that vision with examples of tactical initiatives

You might just come up with a different impression.

Anonymous said...

If Gerry Reids performance in the ntv debate is any indication of what he has to offer the people of Newfoundland/Labrador, I think the Liberal party should take a serious look at their leader and where he has taken the party during his leadership. He, in the debate at one point wasn't sure if he wanted to form the governament or the official opposition.

Patriot said...

Anon posted at 12:45pm that mistakes were made by all the leaders but I chose to concentrate on "my" position that reid performed poorly.

In response, I did mention that all three had weak points but, while you are entitled to your opinion, in my opinion Reid was so clearly out of his league against both Williams and Michael that it would be hard not to focus on his short comings.

Anon also said I did not criticize Williams dispite his not answering questions.

In response, as I said before I noted that all three had weak points and I also said that both he and Reid didn't come across well when debating (or more accurately, attacking) each other.

Anon took issue with my statement that Williams "held his ground "accomplished his objectives". He or she asked Just what objectives were they - were they stated, or simply rhetoric added by you to support your preferred party leader?

In response, I never said that Williams was my preferred leader but clearly he is not yours.

My point, as clearly spelled out in the piece, was that Williams had little to really gain (vote wise) from the debate since his popularity is already near max and a sitting leader will more often lose through open debate than gain anything. His record is what people will look at as opposed to the contenders who stand to win some support.

In this light Williams, in my opinion, didn't give up any ground or lose support becuase of any major screw ups during the debate. Michael on the other hand likely scored some points and in doing so may have picked up some support. How does saying this about Michael paint me as a Williams supporter? How does it paint me as an NDP supporter either? Reality is reality.

Anon also took issue with my comment about "Reid opening himself up to attack" and said I did not include his rebuttal that the current government is enjoying financial relief due to the efforts of previous administrations.

In response, that was not a rebuttal to the point made by Williams that I was referring to.

Reid opened himself up by claiming that the Williams government had let the schools become run down. Mold and other major problems in the schools did not happen overnight and Williams made that clear to Reid. Reid was a member of the government that was in power for over a decade when many of these problems were allowed to happen. That's what I mean by opening himself up to the charge. it has nothing to do with the revenues coming in now and who might have signed the deals.

Anon then went on to say that I focused too much on Reid's appearance rather than the words he spoke. He or she suggested that I'd get a much different picture of the debate if I had listend on the radio or read the transcript for content.

In response, I may very well get a different opinion of the content if I did that, but that is not what most voters will do so it is not what will impact the decisions of those voters. Instead, most voters who paid any attention at all to the debate did so by watching it on T.V. This is where the debate was either won or lost, in the hearts and minds of voters, not in transcripts.

Anon said that acting skills hold some importance in getting your point across, but they do not carry the weight that the words and policy positions do. Visuals also can create emotional responses, rather than a fact based comparison. Perhaps the lack of visual impression explains the differences that we have.

In response, I don't disagree with that, in fact that is my arguement exactly. visuals do indeed create emotional responses and help get points across which is why the majority of voters who followed the debate (on T.V.) will have the same (or a similar impression of it) as I do. I've already questioned nearly 20 people today on what their impressions were and all are pretty much in line.

The article I presented was a clear reveiw of what the voters of the province were provided with last night. Not what a handful listened to on radio or what one or two people will read by searching out and reading a transcript.

touton said...

Since this thread is about last night's debate, the status of the parties and someone has already mentioned the Bond (toilet)papers, I thought I'd post a response to an article by Ed Hollett here for everyone to see.

If the moderator here is willing to post it I'd appreciate it.

I'm doing this because Hollett refuses to let me ask a valid question on his site.

He claims he won't let me post the question because I am posting as an anon, I am not. I have a blogger account. He also claims that because I don't have my profile made public I might as well be anonyomous.

BS.

I don't have my profile made public but then again why should I? Why does he want to know exactly who I am when all I'm doing is asking a simple question?

Is it so him or some of his other Liberal party heavies can figure out who I am and intimidate me or try to shut me up?

No thanks Ed, I'll keep it the way it is thank you.

Anyway, on his blog today Hollett said Williams lied during the debate about Ed's buddy Simon Lono. Like someone said here, he's rushing to Simon's defence again, and again and again.

My comment was simply this:

I watched the debate and heard Williams say Lono voted for a conservative nominee in a district where he should not have voted.

I asked Hollett if he was denying that this actually happened even though it was already in the media and since Lono admitted doing it.

I wanted to know why he considered Williams comment a lie.

That was it folks, talk about censorship over there, if he won't even print that I can only imagine what else he hides from the light of day, man this is nuts.

I guess Hollett is so desperate to defend his buddy and his precious liberal party that he won't even let anyone ask a perfectly honest question any more.

Hiel Hitler Mr. Hollett. Hiel Hitler.

Patriot said...

Hi Touton,

I can't say I am crazy about the comments regarding "heavies" or Hitler, but never the less you did ask a simple question and there should be no reason for anyone not to publish it.

That's why, as much as I don't really want to get into some kind of cyber war or pissing contest with Ed at the moment, I decided to print your comment here anyway.

In fairness to Ed, I also gave him a chance to respond by posting the following on his site. Hopefully he will answer your question now and mine as well.

Post on Ed's Site:

Hi Ed,

Someone just sent a post to my blog and asked me to post it since you wouldn't do it over here. I agreed since I also saw the debate last night and was a bit confused after reading your commentary today.

The contributor claimed you denied them the ability to post because they did not open up their blogger profile. I see by your comment here that this is indeed the case.

Well, on their behalf, and since I also find what Lono did to be very odd to say the least, I'll ask what you refused to allow someone else to ask.

I don't think you accuse me of not letting anyone know who I am.

The person asked: On his blog today Hollett said Williams lied during the debate about Lono.
My comment was simply this:

I watched the debate and heard Williams say Lono voted for a conservative nominee in a district where he should not have voted.

I asked Hollett if he was denying that this actually happened even though it was already in the media and since Lono admitted doing it.

I wanted to know why he considered Williams comment a lie.

I'm paraphrasing of course. When posted on my site he or she also made a few comments about you and why they believed you wouldn't publish the question but that has no bearing here.

I see by your previous comment that since Williams said Lono's actions were illegal that made it a lie. I am not a lawyer and don't know the specific legalities around nominations, elections etc, but if not illegal(and I don't know that it isn't) don't you at least consider it odd, immoral, strange, or any of the above? If not, why?


Also, just in case my blogger name and profile aren't enough for you, my name is Myles Higgins and I am the moderator of Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hopefully that's enough for you or do you want my home address and phone number?

Patriot said...

Just in case anyone is following this foolishness, Ed also refused to publish my comment (see previous post).

His response is available on his site but here is my response to his refusal to allow my post.

Hopefully this puts closure to the topic and educates everyone of the situation at Bond.

Here is my response to his refusal to post.

Ed,

I don't expect that you will post this comment from me either Ed but I do not act as a shill for anyone. The person asked a legitimate question that you refused to answer because of your rules. I also wanted some answers to the same question but you refused to publish that as well. It appears at least that you are more interested in avoiding the topic than in simply following the rules, why else would you also deny my comment.

There was no smear in the comment I tried to post. In fact I purposely did not restate the words of the original poster as it might be viewed by some people that way. I also did not not anonomously and yet you still refused to post it here.

You also said, "Further to maintaining those standards, Myles and on reviewing the comment you allowed to be posted about me on your own blog, I cannot in good conscience allow you to perpetrate a smear campaign here or on your own blog against me or anyone else."

In response, I am not smearing anyone. I also posted on my blog what I tried to post here and which you won't allow. I believe anyone reading it will see that I did not try to post anything here that was out of line.

Also, though I did not smear you, and do not intend to, either here or in the posts on my own site, I do take issue to your comment that you will not LET something like that happen "here or on your own (my) blog".

You may control what happens here Ed but you don't and never will control what happens on my site. Get over yourself.

By the way, since I don't expect you to post this here I'll go ahead and give closure to the issue on my own site so anyone following this can put it to bed.

Anonymous said...

Patriot, your sole criticim of Williams was "Williams and Reid, shouted or talked over one another making it difficult for viewers to understand what either man was saying." You made no mention of his refusal to answer direct questions such as;

(from Michaels) If he had concerns of the actions taken by the IEC when he was in opposition, why did he not raise his concerns in the house when given the opportunity while he was in opposition.
Williams ignored the question, instead highlighting on actions taken after his party agreed to the changes.

(From the panel) Why did he choose to reward those closest to him with 17% raises first?
Williams denied and stated that the accusation was not true, public servents were given and extra 1% in year three of their agreement as well as a one time payment to "right the previous government's wrong"

(from the panel) "What does your party plan to do with seniors in terms of their long term health and and their dignity"
Williams, instead of answering what his party's plans are, chose to highlight previous initiatives.

(from Reid) Why equity is important to the province and warranted walking away from development for 18 months.
Williams ignored the question.

(from panel) "Do you not believe that a healthy government requires a healthy level of opposition."

Williams declined to answer, instead dictating "the opposition has to earn the vote". "We stand on our record"

Patriot stated: "During the debate Williams accomplished his objectives by holding his ground and getting his message out"

If that objective included circumventing the tough questions that are important to us all, I agree, Williams was successful.

Patriot said...

You are absolutely correct in saying I did not mention those details. Nor did I mention the times Michael or Reid either did not answer a question or gave a response that did not really answer what was asked.

The reality is that my commentary highlighted the impression each candidate made, not all the details. If I wanted to provide all the details I would have required far too much space and I could have simply posted the transcript. That wasn't the intent.

No conspiracy here, just a difference between what you wanted to see and what I was trying to convey.

Anonymous said...

Patriot, it seems Jimminy Cricket (Hollett) is running a partisan blog over ther at the Toilet Papers. I can only laugh at his attempts to smear Williams and the PC's, and his attempts at cushioning the blows to his buddy Simon (Lowblow) Lono.

It's unfortunate the Bond Papers would not post your remarks. Freedom of speech is dead at the Bond (Toilet) Papers, as well as at the Telegram Blog I might add.

time for a change said...

Wow - partisan blog? What the heck is this?

As for the Lono issue, the Premier said Lono "acted illegally". Those were his precise words, and you can review the debate for yourselves.

Williams is a lawyer. He knows what "acted illegally" means. He accused Lono of breaking the law.

Whatever you think of Lono voting in a PC nomination meeting, he did not break any law. Ergo, unless Williams is going to pass a new law that makes Lono's voting in a PC nomination illegal, the Premier lied.

As for the debate, I thought all three of them sucked pretty bad. Williams was an arrogant loudmouth, Reid looked nervous, and Michael made no sense... although she did have the best demeanor of the three.

It is clear that Williams is running not only to be Premier, but to be head of the police, the public service, top gynecologist, national motivator, CEO, lead guitarist, principal, head engineer and copy editor of Newfoundland and Labrador. He thinks he's Julius Caesar.

Patriot said...

Good one "Time for a Change" but like I said before, I am not a lawyer and don't know if what he did was illegal or not, are you a lawyer? If not, can you tell us how you know it is not illegal, and remember, the question is not if he should have voted for a conservative but if he should have voted at all in a district where he does not live and should not have voted.

Is that illegal, perhaps someone with a law degree can weigh in on that if you don't have one.

Anonymous said...

Ironic when you consider Danny Williams has never seen Humber West except from the window of his winnebago...

Ussr said...

http://www.cbc.ca/nlvotes2007/features/debate/ - Well,I just finished watching it,lol!!!

How Do You spell "STupid N#@%$"

Gerry,Gerry,Gerry!!!

What a freakin Loser,my God is it that Bad back Home Myles,that we have to put that into Governement.

Don't we have a couple of bums down on the warf that need something to do.Get'em in a suite for the love of Chrsit!!!

Go DANNY GO !!!

PS,...at least we have the NDP,lol!!!

Anonymous said...

USSR, you are on to something. A single superstar with a cast of extras is much easier to manage than a cast of many. All that wasted effort that responsible MHA's expend representing their districts instead of the "vision" is unnecessary and distracting.
It's true. Danny said so.
Think of the money that could be saved if we just elected a leader and let him appoint the district representatives. That way he would be assured that he could select individuals that positively supported his government rather than tied up his precious time defending his decisions. He even said so in the debate. Ya know, I think that might just work, and according to the polls, I'm not alone. Reid has got to go, he's far too negative and is hampering progress.

Patriot said...

As a final note regarding the refusal to publish a question at the "other" blog site mentioned above.

My last post was indeed published so I'll at least give credit where credit is due. In the response to it however I was accused by the administrator of having a site that was (I believe the term was "censorship central". An odd comment coming from someone who refused to post a simple question.

Anyway, all well that ends well I suppose.

Ussr said...

"Reid has got to go, he's far too negative and is hampering progress." - No Ried is a socialist idiot that needs to wake-up and see the world from the out-side in.

Its great to see that Newfoundland and Labrador has a Premier that can see this picture.Is Newfoundland and Labrador ready to stay 25 years behind the rest of canada because we want to have our cake and eat it too.Thats a Liberial ideology that has cost us everything from our young people to our fishery.Bottom line ,let the liberials and the Pcs stand by thier record.I know who I would vote for,and they wouldnt have red beside thier name thats for sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm not normally a Danny supporter but in the debate when he said that Reid's prosperity fund is really a bankruptcy fund, or something to that effect, he hit the nail on the head.

Reid is going around talking about putting millions into the fishery and keeping plants from closing rather than focusing on other industries. Crap man, you can pour all the money you want into the fisheries but if there are no fish there are no fish. Money won't make them come back.

I read somewhere that NL has enough fish plants to process the entire world's fish. Government after government in the past has taken Gerry's tack and build or sustained plants in almost every coastal community to win elections. Like it or not there are more than we need and they have to realize that.

I live in a small fishing community but come on, reality is reality. Aquaculture, sure. Wind farms sure. Smelters sure. Oil developments sure. Mining sure. Factories sure. But until the fish are protected (and that's something that needs Ottawa to do its job, good luck) then there is no point in pour good money after bad by propping up a dying industry.

Diversification is something that's saved many businesses over the years. Those that didn't often disappeared. If NL doesn't diversify as much as possible the same will happen here. Just look around, it's already happening and Gerry's crew are too dumb or too placating to the voters to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Time for a change my friend, yes I believe those blogs I mentioned are partisan. I would have the same opinion if a blog or blogs were sucking up to Williams by the way.

I do agree with your remarks pertaining to the debate os was it an un-debate. I am totally disappointed in the Liberals that they cannot get their collective arses together and come up with a credible leader and a full sleight of candidates. I say that simply because I have a fear that Williams will take a larger majority this time and become even more insufferable. I disagree with the way this government and previous governments (both Liberal and PC) are and have treated Labrador, and I live on the island portion of the province. Little or no opposition will not serve this province well in the next four years, and the debate has only emphsized that.

Anonymous said...

Anon posting of September 27, 2007 10:21 AM, may I say this in response to you, I agree totally. We have had consecutive governments pour millions of dollars into building fishplants within this province for no other reason than to curry favour with constituents. Plant owners have had grants pushed their way to upgrade or keep plants operating, and in most cases used to line their own corrupt pockets. I could throw names out but I don't wish to get in trouble, and I imagine most would know what I am referring to. Most of the plants are nothing more than stamp factories, that has been plain for all to see.

I work in an industry that pays me to work as long as there is work to do. Nobody provides me with enough work to qualify for EI. One other point I feel is important, and that point is that outmigration to the oilsands is not unique to this province. People are even migrating from rich Ontario to work in Alberta where wages are higher. Blaming any government in this province for outmigration is pointless when we have pressures brought to bear on local industries such as fishery and pulp & paper due to the high and climbing loonie. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how stupid Gerry Reid is coming across. On the VOCM site he says,

"...if Danny Williams is re-elected, he'll drive this province into bankruptcy. Reid says while he's being criticized for wanting to share a surplus budget with everyone in the province, the Premier wants to borrow more money and drive the province further into debt."

Of course there has to be some borrowing. How the hell else can you develop the lower churchill without giving away the shop to Quebec and Ontario and ending up with another upper churhcill deal.

meanwhile Reid and Michael are talking about nothing but spending, spending, spending. Did it ever cross their minds that it was this attitude that got us so far in debt in the first place? At least the money Williams is talking about borrowing is money that will build more prosperity so we can pay off the debts, what will the others do but bankrupt the province? What a knob

Anonymous said...

Lorraine Michal is no better than Gerry Reid when it comes to opening up the taps and spending, spending, spending until we are sunk.

I know the Holyrood plant is a polluter and a bad one that needs to be addressed but come on, she wants the province to spend over a hundred million dollars to renovate a plant that will be shut down in 7 years if lower churchill comes on stream.

Does that make sense, spending a hundred million on a throw away?

I'd love to see something done to clean that mess up quicker but I certainly don't see throwing all that money out just as a temporary measure.

Christ, if you look at all the spending promises the Liberals, NDP and even the Conservatives are talking about in their platforms we'll be sunk before long. And I'm not talking about spending on developments like churchill and oil, gas, aquaculture, those are great because they will make money.

Yes we need improvements in some areas of government service but my God some of these guys are talking about spending the little bit of new money like a sailor on shore leave. At least Williams, with all of his big spending announcements, is also looking at ways to make more money, the other two are gone off the head.

Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Hey Miles, It looks like you pegged it pretty close. somone accused you of bias on this article but NTV just released a poll of over 1500 NLers and asked them who they thought won the debate.

the result was Williams #1, Michael #2 and Reid a distant third.

Michael over 36%, Williams over 40% and Reid at a little over 4%

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Don't you worry, Hollett and his band cheerleaders will pooh pooh the poll and spin it as a victory for (mister happy)Reid.

Incidentally, after the trainwreck and the Liberals getting virtually elliminated, just watch for draft John Efford campaign to replace Reid., although I would consider that a mistake. The liberals need new blood not washed up backstabing hasbeens revitalize their party.

Anonymous said...

Boy, it's a good thing this election campaign is almost over. Today the Liberals lost another candidate. he's in hospital. That makes 3 since the campaign started. 1 dropped out at the last minute, one passed away and another is now too sick to run. At this rate if the campaign went on much longer they wouldn't have anyone left at all.