Canada is having a federal election, and last night "The Lost Motorcyclist" watched the leaders debate. Not because I really wanted to, but because it bumped my favourite TV show.
Canada currently has five federal political parties. I do not use the word "national" parties because one party, "The Bloc Quebecois" is intent on breaking up Canada, so it is a Federal party but not a National one.
Another party "The Green Party" has no members in parliament, never has had a member in parliament. Their leader was excluded from the debate for this reason. But there is no rule about this in Canadian politics, it is a decision traditionally made by TV executives depending on what they think will make the most interesting TV show.
We had the debate in English last night, and soon we will have the same debate (sort of) in French. Last night, only Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc leader, had any trouble with English. It's not because of his French accent, either. He has no trace of a French accent when he speaks English. He seems to have made up an accent of his own. Let me give you an example. The word "Panama" came up in the debate (no idea why and it better not be because we are bombing them). In French it is pronounced "panna - MAW". In English is it pronounced "PAN - uh-muh). Gilles pronounces it "pa - NAME - aw".
Let's try another one, "Ghetto". Even easier, it is the same word in French and English, and pronounced just about the same way "ge -to". You can verify that yourself by listening to it in French on this web page (click the triangle button). Gilles pronounces it "GETE- to".
The only conclusion I can come to is that Gilles Duceppe's English Language coach is a Conservative party supporter.
Now for the substance of the debate. The most effective technique used was contradiction. Your opponent says something and you say "That's not true, the very opposite is true."
For example: Layton (NDP leader) says to Harper (Conservative, and incumbent Prime Minister) "You are bad because you cut funding to xxxxx program.". Harper responds "That is not true, we have tripled funding to xxxxx program." Layton: "Why did you cut the funding?" etc.
My time was not totally wasted watching the debate, there were a few good barbs. Jack Layton: (paraphrased) "Why build more prisons? Criminals seem happy enough in the Senate". Reference to Harper appointing senators with a criminal past.