Opening Statement



Monday, 26 September 2011

Tuesday's Ontario Election Debate?

[Post script: Was I right or wrong? You decide. The t.v./ newspaper straw votes, analysis and focus will once again decide public opinion, at least for anyone who wasn't watching or have much grasp on politics or media, I fear. I'm surprised they aren't yet all over Hudak's "foreigners" remarks. I didn't think he'd start tossing that position around again. It's a pity if the public and the media don't catch this. Also if McGuinty and Horwath don't run with it and try score a post debate homerun at Hudak's expense.]

How will Tuesday's 6:30 pm Ontario Election Debate go? Will it make or break any of the three party leaders? Premier Dalton McGuinty of the Liberals? Opposition Leader Tim Hudak of the Conservatives? Andrea Horwath of the NDP? Here's my best guesstimate:

Tim Hudak is not known as a great public speaker or debater except perhaps when he is amongst the party faithful. Let's see if he can mellow the mad white guy act tonight. Andrea Horwath is quite personable and has a sunny disposition. It is to her long term advantage to make that impression well known if she is to continue to shine in Jack Layton's glow, if not in this election then in the years ahead. Dalton McGuinty enters the debate with an advantage, this is his fourth election campaign. Both Tim and Andrea are rookies, it's only their first. That's very important!

Dalton needs to come across as steady, confident, and managerial. Sparing any curve balls that catch him off base he should be safe. If he can strip off enough voters from the NDP, who might feel safer in the Liberal rather than the NDP tent should they fear a possible Conservative election win, he could hit a home run. It wouldn't be unprecedented but is by no means for certain. NDP voters could stay the course hoping for an NDP balance of power in a Liberal or Conservative minority government too. Expect Andrea and Tim to go at Dalton like there's no tomorrow! Dalton must come off as unruffled. It could just come down to a question of style.

The front covers of the Wednesday Toronto Sun and National Post will declare that Hudak won the debate, regardless of how it goes. The Sun will declare a landslide win for Tim. The t.v. ratings will not be high but one would hope they will beat the Law and Order SVU reruns come 7pm. Likewise election day voter turnout will still be headed for an all time low. So it goes in an election weary Ontario without any defining issues on the frontburner. Basically either the Liberals or the Conservatives will still be able to win, barring any unexpected knock out punches, simply depending upon who can get out the most voters on election day.

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