Once again, all times Mountain.
I can't believe I'm going to miss to Biden/Palin blood-letting for this. It had better be good tonight... what do you think the over/under is on Liz May attacking Dion's policies?
Yeah, I wouldn't take that bet, either.
Scott Reid is concerned about the economy... running out of beer and popcorn money?
Good to see that CBC went to the trouble of actually inviting a Green
to spin tonight, instead of asking the NDP to analyse Liz's performance like they did last night.
MY big question tonight, is do Harper and Jack take advantage of Dion's poor English to attack him, or do they ignore him completely and focus on each other?
The table is back... May to Harper's left. Fitting.
I hope tonight's question isn't to say something nice about the person on your right... what has Liz got left to say about Stephen?
Jack just tried to seduce me when he was introduced... I swear - I *know* that stare...
What steps would you take as PM to protect our economy?
May: The US is in a recession. First thing I would do is put a freeze on foreign ownership of our companies. Devalue the Canadian dollar.
Dion: For the first 30 days of a Liberal gov't, we'll hold a lot of meetings.
Harper: Last night, Dion, you panicked - you announced a whole new economic plan in the middle of a debate. Your plan is going to put us in a deficit, cost us jobs, and cause a crisis. We need to stay the course.
Layton: Another big tax cut like Harper wants, and another tax like Dion wants, are both wrong. We need to increase regulation, and ivest in the fundamentals of the economy. WORKING FAMILIES...
Duceppe: Harper/Bush share the same ideology. Laissez Faire. Invisible hand. Rich oil companies. Just read my comments from yesterday.
Dion: Steve, doing nothing is not an option. Canadians care, and all you're doing is distorting my plan.
Harper: We have not been following the same policies as the United States. We've made very different choices. Our budget is in surplus, we're paying off debt, creating jobs, our mortgage and housing sector is regulated. We're not bailing out big companies, we're investing.
May: Steve, you're offering nothing on the economy. Where's your platform? Every other party has released one (good point). Other people, who aren't me, think we should reduce income tax and tax carbon instead.
Layton: Steve, you're wrong, you ARE following the U.S. Either you don't care, or you're incompetent. Which is it? (good line)
Harper doesn't rise to the bait. We cut $200 Million is taxes overall, and three quarters went to typical taxpayers.
Duceppe: Rich oil companies suck. Manufacturers are in trouble. We have to help the manufacturing sector. Improve EI.
Dion: Steve, you're pissing away a good situation you inherited from a Liberal government.
Harper: We didn't keep a large amount in Ottawa, we put it back into the economy. I know there have been job losses, but there has been more job creation to make up for it. Putting taxes on companies penalizes jobs and hurts those invested in these companies.
May: Harper, you're out of touch if you don't know people are fundamentally worried. You're favouring one region over others (gee, which ones, I wonder?). Is this the same Liz May who accused Harper of inventing a crisis last night?
Layton: I don't know if you don't go to these factories, but I do. You want to give tax breaks to these companies? Take some responsibility, here.
Harper: We don't have a mortgage meltdown or banking crisis, here.
Layton's definitely on the attack tonight. He's coming across as a bit too much so for my apolitical company tonight.
Dion: to have a strong economy, you need a strong manufacturing sector. We'll make that happen.
Duceppe: Sustainable development. Heard of it, Stephen?
Harper: We're helping manufacturers buy equipment, we're investing in forestry, automotive, aerospace... we're doing a lot.
May: You said to Americans that the Canadian unemployed are doing just fine because of our EI programs (in 1997). People who aren't me think you're wrong.
Layton: May is right, I don't know who you're getting your advice from.
At this point, the "peanut gallery" (I think Duceppe?) says "Mr. Howard". Come ON, THIS is what I'm missing Palin/Biden for? A schoolyard mauling?
Duceppe: Manufacturing companies don't benefit from tax cuts - they're not making any money, so they're not paying any tax anyway.
Duceppe needs to stop interrupting people when they try to deal with his questions. He did this last night, too, and he's coming across as a badgering jerk.
Layton: Stephane, you support Harper's tax cut plan, and kept him in power for over a year. He wants to cut corporate taxes, and hope that fixes everything. We need to invest.
Dion: Economists like our plan. Jack, go to your room.
Are the manufacturing jobs gone for good?
Harper: Yes, the economy is evolving and we need to evolve along with it.
Duceppe: Who cares? Harper's ignoring me, and my feelings are hurt.
May: We need to bring them back. It's not good enough for people in Nova Scotia to know they can stay employed if dad goes to work in Fort Mac. TARSANDS REFERENCE.
Layton: I can't think of anything other countries can make with wood that we can't (read: mercantilism). You're giving tax breaks to banks and oil companies. If we invest and have a strategy, we can get those jobs back.
Dion: I care about your jobs. Look at me, I ooze caring. We've had a Prime Minister for 2 years who doesn't care.
Harper: It the U.S., they're bailing out the banking system. We're not. We're investing in individual sectors. This is hardly Laissez Faire. We're already doing what you're saying we should. I would say overall we're being successful, keeping the economy going, we have a slowdown but not a recession. I think there are some areas we can do better, but we're not in the same position as the U.S.
Duceppe: I think everyone should buy Canadian.
Layton: I agree. We just lost a plant in Ontario no one ever heard of, and it's your fault, Stephen. We proposed a Jobs Commissioner, and it worked in BC under an NDP government that the voters kicked the crap out of...
May: We're seeing a structural imblanaced shift under Harper's leadership. MAy's body language comes across as alternatively arrogant and dismissive.
Dion: We want to invest in R&D and infrastructure.
Harper: We have a Buy In Canada policy for military. Jack, you mentioned people lost jobs. That's terrible, I've lost a job, I understand. We're going to create jobs. You're all sincere, but you have bad ideas.
They're all talking over each other, but May is easiest to hear - it doesn't reflect well.
Layton: Where's your platform, under the sweater? (ZING!)
Dion: A Liberal government cleaned up Mulroney's mess, we'll clean up Harper's.
Layton: The Liberals off-loaded the federal deficit onto the provinces.
Duceppe: We were the ones who proposed the no deficit law.
How do you reconcile the environment and the economy?
Dion: Key question of the century. The countries that have energy efficieny will be the more competitive of the world. We want to decrease taxes on what creates the wealth, and shift it to pollution. We want the country cleaner, more energy efficient.
Harper: The Liberal plan has carbon tax increases double any of the cuts. We have to have a balanced approach.
Layton: A reduction from Harper's plan is a figment of his imagination. We should be making big polluters pay, and use every penny of those revenues to stimulate the new energy economy.
Duceppe: Kyoto. Kyoto kyoto kyoto. Each province should apply its own plan. Alberta and Saskatchewan are evil pooluters (DRINK!)
May: Bill Clinton is my friend. We need to get over this idea of the environment being a threat to the economy. We should be like Sweden of Germany.
Harper: The Liberal package is a tax increase. $26 Billion in tax cuts, $40 Billion in carbon tax.
Dion: You're lying. Countries that shift outperform countries that don't. Harper is a bad, bad man. Don't believe him.
May: We have a plan that would bring in $35 Billion. Dion's plan brings in $15 - I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying...
Duceppe: I know the NDP and Liberals support the territorial approach, don't know about the Greens... of course, the air follows provincial borders... the West is evil and pollutes... Steve, do you support that for Quebec?
Harper: We don't plan to impose taxes on people, we are going to have companies pay into an ingenuity fund if they don't meet targets.
Duceppe badgers him for an answer - AGAIN. Gilles keeps seeming like a schoolyard bully.
Layton: You, Exxon, and George Bush. (DRINK!). Tarsands. Canadians aren't happy, you're throwing away the opportunity to make these polluters pay.
Dion: I want Canada to succeed in the 21st century. If we avoid the issue, I'm very concerned for my country (presumably he means Canada, and not France)
Harper: The people who pollute the most, pay the most. They have to meet our targets and reduce emissions by 70%. We're limiting the exporting of bitumen (Ed Stelmach on line 2 from Jasper, Mr. Prime Minister...)
May: George Bush and you both don't like Kyoto, Steve. You're a bad man.
Layton: Steve, you're not telling the truth. Why did you approve one week after a court said you shouldn't, a huge development without any of these kinds of conditions?
Dion: Nobody likes Steve's plan, lots of smart people like ours. Richer, Greener, Fairer.
Harper: We've signed an agreement with the nature conservancy of Canada, we've expanded the parks system, created the largest marine park in the world, dealing with air quality.
May: You're lying about everything but parks.
Do you have any plans to alleviate the doctor shortage in Canada?
Layton: We've put forward a plan to increase by 50% the number of doctors we train in Canada, and nurses by 6,000. We'll forgive student debt if you agree to work for 10 years. Harper is off-loading the issue to the provinces.
Duceppe: Ottawa can't do jack. This isn't a federal issue. Just give Quebec their money, and shut up.
May: We lost 21% of our hospital beds (SAY it, Liz... who was the government, then?) from 1993 to 1996. She is going out of her way to avoid mentioning the Liberals as having done something wrong. The fix is in.
Dion: Our doctors and nurses are old. Our population is aging. Provinces are asking us to be part of the solution. We'll work with provices.
Harper: Liz is right. The Liberals cut all kinds of health dollars. We've been working with the provinces. Our approach has been not to attack them, but to work with them.
Layton: You're criticising the Liberals for cutting? Who was encouraging them to cut more? You ran a group whose main objective was privatization.
Harper: I use the public system, my family uses the public system. Other leaders use private clinics.
May: I don't.
Jack's pretty quiet just now.
Moderator mentions Layton's use of a private clinic. Jack is pouting about a "cheap shot". Being told your crap stinks is a cheap shot?
Harper: You just accused me of trying to kill the public health care system, but you used a private clinic, Jack.
May: The IMF told us we had to cut our hospital beds to maintain our credit rating in the 90's. The US is coming to ruin our healthcare system. SHE SAID 'LIBERAL CUTS'! Harper's job is the 90's was to destroy our heathcare system. How's that look on a resume? Would make for an interesting business card... She won't answer a question about nationalizing private clinics.
Duceppe: THIS. IS. NOT. A. FEDERAL. ISSUE. Give us our money.
Dion: We'll be involved, without infringing on provincial jurisdiction. We'll bring in catastrophic drug coverage.
Harper: Anybody who provides services must offer them to everyone, under the Act. We created a lot of health commissions...
Duceppe: That Quebec was against.
Layton: The Liberals promised the same sort of thing in 1997, and we never saw it.
What do the arts mean to you?
Duceppe: My father was a comedian (apple fell pretty far from the tree). Harper is a bad man for cutting the soul of the nation.
May: Arts and culture are neccessary. Gov't censorship is bad. There is such a thing as a creative class, which leads to community health. We need to protect our identity as Canadians.
Dion: Arts are fun. It's a way to be stimulated. It's a mistake to think of it as a luxury.
Harper: I enjoy the arts immensely. I play a bit of piano, my family on my dad's side was musical, my wife's family paints and draws, my daughter dances, my son is learning guitar. We've increased the arts and culture budget. We're creating a $500 tax credit for arts lessons for children.
Layton: My wife is a sculptor. I'm not talented, but I enjoy them. The average artist makes $10-12000 per year, and can't afford piano lessons for their kids, with or without a tax credit.
ARE CONSERVATIVES BARBARIANS? Hmmmm...
Dion: I think Harper considers artists as enemies.
Duceppe: Jim Flaherty answered this, when he said you make ideological decisions about the arts. When Harper says the budget was raised by 8%, the culture department took an 8% cut.
Harper: We increased funding to the CBC. We cut programs that were no longer effective, and moved the funding tot hings that were effective. That's the responsibility of government.
May: He killed 16 programs. I don't think they're barbarians, he has appropriated all the levers of government to increasing his own personal power - Steve is Machiavelli.
Layton: They talk about freedom as a value, but you're trying to censor expression of those who oppose you. Look at the programs that got cut. Foreign promotion of small and independent films.
Dion: Your government cut things on an ideological basis. We'll spend more on the arts, and have more fun.
Harper: We've increased a lot - there's no ideaological agenda, we're getting a bad rap. Duceppe is muttering about not being answered - zip it, Gilles.
Layton: Arts programs aren't sacrosanct, and should be up for review. Other countries are investing in the arts - we should be doing the same.
What are you going to do about the rate of violent crime?
May: It's not going up, the coverage is. We'll draw a line in the sand, we'll give judges more power, ban handguns, ban semi-automatics, rural Canadians need a less burdeonsome system of control for their guns.
Dion: Behind each crime there's a human tragedy. Government needs to choose a good approach to fight the root causes, such as poverty, addiction, mental illness.
Harper: There are some increases. Gangs, guns and drugs. We're bringing in tougher sentencing for young offenders, we'll put additional funding into drawing youth away from gang criminal activity, there's a disturbing increase in property crime. Our methods are targeted to specific areas.
Layton: People are killing my constituents. There's no reason for a handgun on the streets of a city. We need strong laws, but need to invest in young people. Harper didn't deliver on his previous $50 Million pledge, why would he now?
Duceppe: Quebec is doing it right, you all can go screw yourselves. Instead of punishing young offenders, we need to do something better. Let's punish the real, hardened criminals.
May: Literacy is an essential element in keeping kids out of crime. Harper killed $17 Million in literacy programs.
Harper: We didn't cut literacy. We cut a program that didn't teach people to read - that's why it was cut. When it comes to serious and repeat crime, there need to be serious penalties. Young offender sinvolved in murder, rape, and repeat occurences need to face real sentences.
Layton: We helped you pass these bills, Steve, and they died on the order paper because you prorogued parliament. Nobody knows what that means, Jack.
Dion: I trust judges, and you (Steve) don't. That's the difference between us. You want to put 14 year-olds away for life. This won't help our country to be safer. You want to take away house arrest for someone who takes mail from your mailbox?
Harper: You're wrong, Stephane, on both counts. 40% of those under house arrest in some areas violate the terms of their sentences. In this particular case, we're giving judges more discretion, so obviously we trust them.
Duceppe: Everyobdy in Quebec says our system works pretty well. We don't need an american philosophy in our system. There's less violence in Quebec than elsewhere in North America (yep, no gang crime in Montreal - good call, Gilles).
Layton: Stop putting Metis, First Nations, and Inuit in jail. Their lives are hard. It's a national disgrace.
Is that all his fault, asks the moderator.
Layton says the blame also goes to the Liberals.
Harper: The reality is the police and victims groups see terrible crimes and inadequate sentences. We all know it. They know it in Quebec, too. They're supporter our proposed changes.
Dion: This failed in the U.S., and will fail here. We need Liberals. The Kelowna Accord will sove the problem, but Jack killed the Accord with Harper.
Layton goes OFF on Dion for keeping Harper in power. "If you can't do your job as Leader of the Opposition, I don't know why you're running for Prime Minister."
Talk on Afghanistan 2011 date.
Harper: We'll have been there for almost 10 years. Parliament authorized it until then, and I think that's wise. If we're to truly pacify the country, we need to train the Afghan police. We won't achieve such a target unless we set a deadline and meet it.
Layton: Our party was the only party to say there should not be an extension of the mission. We believe we're on the wrong path. Canada's voice should be a voice for peace. We should go to the UN and propose a plan for peace.
Duceppe: Au contraire, mon frere. If Layton voted with us way back when, we'd be out 4 months from now. We need to invest more in forgein aid, less in military.
May: Bush and Harper are the same. (DRINK!) This is caused by a humanitarian failure. We need to turn the poppy crops into medicinal crops.
Dion: I admire soldiers. If I thought we were invading, I'd want us out right away. We'll do our best to provide security until 2011 in coalition with our NATO partners, and then we'll pull out.
Harper: 60 partners are there, it's a UN sanctioned mission. Afghanistan will need to take care of its own issues. May is muttering - she'll probably call him a liar again.
Layton: I don't trust you OR the Liberals. You're like George Bush, and Dion committed to 2009, then changed his mind to 2011.
Dion: Shut up, Jack. Harper, you said we'd stay until the job was done. First thing I'll do as Prime Minister is announce to our Allies that we're serious about leaving in 2011.
Duceppe: Afghanistan sucks because George Bush invaded Iraq. You copied a speech from Australia.
Harper: I made it clear - we're not going to Iraq.
Duceppe, AGAIN, is badgering for an answer. He's so unlikable in this role, it boggles the mind.
Harper: Afghanistan isn't a Bush mission, Obama has committed to increase U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
Duceppe: If you were Prime Minister in 2003, we would have been in Iraq.
May: I know what's in your heart, Stephen. You're a liar. We need a U.N. mission with more countries. We're turning our back on Africa.
Dion: Harper is imprudent. He's like George Bush, he copied John Howard's speech. (We get it, guys.)
Layton: Staying until 2011 will screw other countries out of our assistance.
Harper: I appreciate the Liberal support, Dion's position changed 3 times, but at least he's right NOW.
Dion: YOU changed your mind - I always supported a pull-out date.
What's the first thing you're going to do when you get into office as PM?
Layton: We'll replace the $50 Billion tax cut with infrastructure, income security, job creation, and environmental investments. NDP Government (DRINK!)
Duceppe: I won't be Prime Minister, and I know it. 3 of you won't either, but you won't admit it. I'll ask the Prime Minister to do stuff for Quebec.
May: I'll help you build your shed. I'm a woman and single mom - vote for me, I have ovaries. I'll bring in proportional representation. Then we'll move forward with a plan to address carbon emissions. 80% of Canadians agree that it's a big deal.
Dion: I'll secure the economy, hold meetings, and prepare an economic update. Then appoint the best cabinet Canada ever had.
Harper: We'll keep the country in surplus, won't raise taxes, might reduce some, bring in a tax credit for first time homebuyers, reduce the tax on diesel, reduce small business taxes...
Layton: You haven't said you're going to protect the homes, savings and jobs of Canadians, Steve. You're giving Exxon and the banks a big tax break. Stephane, you said you'll be meetign with the premiers, but will you be LISTENING?
Dion: Shut up, Jack. I don't have to work with the provinces, a mandate federally trumps the provinces.
May: I'll defend the Green Shift, because it was our idea. It's exactly what we need to do. Now I'll spend 40 seconds reiterating Dion's plan. High five, Stephane... Cabinet post, please? Why don't we do income splitting, Steve-o?
Harper: We eliminated the marriage penalty. We brought in income splitting for the seniors of this country. We can't afford $5 Billion to do it for everyone in the country. I will not raise taxes. Moderator: EVER?
Harper: I will not raise taxes (behind a glass of water).
Dion: Harper lied about income trusts - remember that when he talks about the Liberal plan. I care about this country.
Harper: We had a case where the entire corporate sector was converting, we gave 4 year's grace, no income trust has been taxed yet.
Basically: Why should Canadians trust what you say?
Duceppe: I think you need to watch what people say before the election, and what they do after. Now, let's talk about Stephen Harper. Don't trust him - he breaks his promises.
May: I used to be a lawyer, now I'm a politician. Nobody likes me. Vote with your heart and demand better between elections - you deserve better.
Dion: Your premise is all of the parties are the same. Wrong. Harper would have us in Iraq, Mr. Chretien didn't. Harper would have killed medicare. Liberals will start something great.
Harper: Voting is our fundamental democratic right. Take a look at our platform ("Where is it?", tosses in Liz) - look at all the good stuff we did over the past 2 years.
Layton: The sweater is nice, Canadians want to know what your promises are, even if you're going to break them. Canadians have an opportunity to put the issues of the kitchen table front-and-centre.
Shouldn't politicians change their minds when the information changes?
Dion: Yes, but you shouldn't break your commitments. Harper did. The Liberals have the plan we need. Trust us.
Layton: I remember the red book - you've got a heck of a record of broken promises, you Liberals. Harper is giving tax breaks to Exxon.
Harper: The government of Nova Scotia says we kept our word on the Atlantic Accord - gov't of NFL doesn't like us, but they didn't like the last federal government, either. We've limited donations to political parties.
May: You may have a minority premier in Nova scotia agreeing with you, but what does he know? She's talking to Harper like he's a 12 year-old. Arrogance and belittlement (word?) doesn't look good on her.
Duceppe: Quebec doesn't have a seat at UNESCO. Contradict me, so I can interrupt you.
Dion: Jack, we had a child care plan in 2006, but the NDP and Tories screwed it up. I'm polite and don't interrupt anyone (DRINK!). Harper, you attack everyone who disagrees with you.
Harper: The farmers of Western Canada voted to have dual grain marketing, and western farmers vote for us.
The moderator tries to lighten things in the wrap-up with a comment that this is definitely better than Biden/Palin. May proves she can't take a joke, by insisting "it's our democracy, this is more important". Sigh...