Federal leaders’ debate won’t harm Harper, political analysts agree

Despite the barrage of questions and accusations aimed at Conservative leader Stephen Harper during tonight’s federal debate, his image won’t be tarnished, says one political analyst.

Patrick Gossage, founder of Media Profile and long-time political commentator, says Harper’s opposition didn’t argue well enough.

Harper, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP leader Jack Layton and Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe squared off in the English leaders’ debate, televised tonight on CBC.

And Gossage said Harper didn’t lose.

“That’s the most important thing. Nobody laid a finger on him,” Gossage said. “Layton and Ignatieff got their points out but not in any sort of dramatic way.”

Nelson Wiseman, professor of politics at the University of Toronto, said Harper neither won nor lost the debate. He spent most of the debate defending alleged problems with the Conservative party pointed at him by his opponents and didn’t have much time to make his own accusations.

In Ignatieff’s one-on-one debate with Harper, the Liberal leader used the short allotted time to fight Harper’s desire for a majority government.

“Mr. Harper, you haven’t earned a majority,” Ignatieff said. “And you haven’t earned the trust of the Canadian people because you don’t trust them.”

The two top party leaders also argued over semantics. Harper accused his opponents of “bickering” during both the debate and in Parliament. Ignatieff said politicians don’t bicker in Parliament but that it is about democracy.

“Parliament isn’t some pesky irrelevance that gets in the way of your power,” Ignatieff said to Harper.

Exchanges such as this led Gossage to say the televised debate was nothing amazing.

“There were certainly no great moments in it that will change anybody’s mind,” Gossage said. “It was a very staged and dodgy debate.”

Wiseman said the debate isn’t going to swing many opinions or affect any of the leaders very much.

”I think it’s going to help hold the NDP vote up. I’m not sure it’s going to do that much for the Liberal vote,” Wiseman said. “On the other hand, Ignatieff had such a low estimation of him. I’m not sure it’ll go any lower. And Duceppe was irrelevant. I don’t think he should have even been in the debate.”

Wiseman praised Layton for his performance despite his health issues and need of a crutch.

“I thought Layton was by far the smoothest debater,” Wiseman said. “His ideas on healthcare were the most positive and the most inclusive. “Layton was the most effective and passionate and focused.”

About this article

By: Dennis Wu
Posted: Apr 12 2011 11:33 pm
Filed under: Canada Votes 2011 News

2 Comments on "Federal leaders’ debate won’t harm Harper, political analysts agree"

  1. If you Google: Harper delivers his plan of, Global Governance for Canada. Everyone present, were totally shocked by his words. He said, Global Governance, has been worked on, since 1945. If Harper doesn’t like Canada sovereign, he can get the hell out.

    While watching the House of Commons TV channel. A motion passed to give, banks, mines, large corporations, gas and oil company’s billions of our tax dollars. They also get huge tax reductions. Harper wants to give big business, ANOTHER tax reduction, which will come off Canadians paychecks. Why is Harper giving the wealthiest outfits in the world our tax dollars? Our taxes belong to us, not to Harper, to give away to greedy big businesses, and squander on billion dollar fake lakes. Harper has an evil agenda. If he wins a majority, we can kiss Canada good-bye. Harper is arrogant, vindictive and underhanded.

    Harper is no different than his best buddy, Gordon Campbell. Harper prorogues Parliament to take the cowards way out, he in his arrogance, thinks he should not have to answer to the peons. Campbell would leave the country and have others do his dirty work for him, mostly his henchman Hansen. He also refused to call a fall sitting of the Legislature, he knew how despised he was. He just didn’t want to answer for his corruption, lies and deceit.

    Harper and Campbell, have a very close relationship. I couldn’t believe my ears when, Harper chastised the BC people for, forcing his best buddy in crime, Campbell to resign.

  2. I live in BC so by the time I get home I see the last 20 minutes and totally surprising no replay. I must be from the west we do not matter. Yes there was lots of talk what debate was about and who scored but I would sooner see the debate that some reporter.
    From what I did see Duceppe who means less than Elizabeth May was beeking off about what was good for Quebec, he should not be in the debate. Layton sounding like the messiah but then again he knows he will never be elected. Iggy trying to tell Harper what he is doing wrong yet Harper has been the best leader in years.
    Harper will get my vote again. Its time the Conservatives need a majority.
    Go Canucks Go!

Comments are closed.