Tuesday, January 10, 2006

D-Day Part Deux

The fun that is a Canadian election debate continues tonight. The French debate tonight might not be as big a ratings winner, as last nights English debate, but could be far more entertaining. The roles have now reversed, Gilles Duceppe is now in his element, he is now the lone true Francophone in a French debate, not the lone Francophone in an English debate. Tonight instead of asking ourselves what the hell is Duceppe trying to say, we will more likely be asking what the hell is Harper, Martin or Layton trying to say.
Duceppe to his credit, held his own last night. Tonight should be a breeze for him. How are the 3 federalist going to fair tonight, well first, the man who has the greatest challenge linguistically is Stephen Harper. To his credit he has made a commitment to becoming bilingual, and his French has improved in the last few years. If he can simply hold his own, and stick to topic, he might come out of this debate, like last nights, smelling like a rose. However, if the other 3 leaders attack and engage Harper in this debate, his fractured French might cause him to let down his defenses causing a political faux pas.
Paul Martin, again this is a critical debate for him. As hard as he tried, and as passionate as he looked last night when he engaged Gilles Duceppe on Quebec sovereignty, he really didn't score any points, and at times looked like a raging lunatic. Martin is a Quebecer, and bilingual, he is however not a Francophone, and is even more stumbly, bumbly when speaking French. This could be be another long night for Mr Martin, expect him to be attacked on all sides with allegations of corruption, and government ethics.
Jack Layton is playing the Duceppe role in this debate. Not to infer that Jack's French is as bad as Duceppes English, but if this debate is going to focus primarily on Quebec politics, then well Jack and the NDP are as popular in Quebec as say the Bloc is in the rest of the country. Jack's challenge in this debate, is to put the NDP on the Quebec political radar...... He has to connect with disenfranchised federalists who traditionally vote Liberal, and get them to resist the temptation to jump on the Harper express.
There you have it, watch this debate, in French if you are able, I can insure you that sparks will fly, the French language brings out the passion in all of us.


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