Nathan and I went to the Westmount - Ville Marie Candidate Debate. It was a pretty packed house with a lot of older voters. Every candidate running in the riding was present. After a four minute introduction from each candidate, the floor was opened for directed questions. The question period lasted for the majority of the 2.5 hour event. I've included an individual analysis for each candidate, my overall impression of the night, my view on how the Marijuana Party of Canada should work, and what I did after the debate.Robert Gervais (Conservative Party of Canada)
I was very impressed with Gervais, he embodies the term Progressive Conservative. While he is an fiscal conservative, he is also a strong social liberal. He spoke clearly and addressed the questions very well. He's a great candidate, but I must respectfully disagree with his economic policy. I wouldn't mind seeing this guy in Parliament, and would prefer him to Lucienne Robillard. The strongest speaker of the night.Lucienne Robillard (Liberal Party of Canada)
Spoke like a true Parliamentarian, skirting the issue and using a lot of ambiguous statements. She also took a very condescending tone when answering certain questions, lecturing on how government worked. She probably works quite hard, but she really didn't connect with me the way Gervais did.Brian Sarwer-Foner (Green Party of Canada)
He started off very strong in his opening statement but got progressively weaker as the night wore on. He inserted himself into many issues but did so in a very vague manner. Didn't seem to really explain HOW the Greens wanted to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish. He was also stumped by a question regarding the parties relatively Libertarian stance on economics.Louis La Rochelle (Bloc Québécois)
While I had entertained thoughts of voting Bloc after Gilles Duceppe's very
strong showings at the debates, this candidate did not inspire me to vote Bloc. Speaking in a deep booming voice he essentially ranted against the Liberals and Quebec's identity each time he was handed a mike. Sending this guy to Ottawa would just be sending a mindless Sovereignist , and thus would be a waste of my vote.Eric Steedman (New Democratic Party)
While his opening statement was a little weak Eric was consistent in what he said, and made sense. He, like Gervais, was able to show why you should vote for HIM, not just his party. Based on his performance tonight I decided that I will definitely vote for Eric Steedman on June 28.David John Proctor (Marijuana Party)
The comic relief of the night. Knew nothing besides marijuana (even then quite weak). When he attempted to comment on other issues fell flat on his face. For example, when Gervais clarified the Conservative's stance on the notwithstanding clause (the Conservatives will only use to protect children from child pornography if legislation cannot be passed), he thought Gervais meant the Conservatives would use the NWC to PROTECT child pornography. Ended up being quite popular with the crowd.Serge Lachapelle (Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada)
The most irrelevant candidate of the night. Read two speeches ranting against the Liberals about the will of the people, and did nothing else of interest.
I'm very interesting in how the results will turn up. While I think Robillard will win, I think her days of getting 60%+ are over. Given that the riding has grown to encompass more of the island, I think the next election can be a very close race, especially if Gervais can remain visible in the community. If Gervais is successful in this election (around 35%), I will be reassured of the power of grassroots support and a strong individual candidate. Hopefully Westmount - Ville Marie's habit of voting for parties instead of candidates will change.
Given the fact that the federal Marijuana Party has no other platform besides the legalization of Weed, I think the Marijuana Party could be an interesting springboard to run as a locally minded candidate. By adding to the Marijuana Party platform to fit to a community, a candidate can make a splash at a debate such as the one held today. Each candidate can present a strong platform that appeals to the community while strengthening the message of Marijuana by not looking like a stoner. If I ever want to run for Parliament to point out flaws in the system, I might do it as a Marijuana Party member, rather than as an independent.
Nate and I went to Dairy Queen, and as we were walking back we ran into Ariana. She and a friend were off to a club for the night (Cheers, in case you were wondering). What really struck me was how ditzy she seemed now, I guess people change, I blame Dawson ;-). We also hooked up with a guy named Patrick, who watched the debate. He graduated from Concordia journalism, and freelances for the Examiner. We talked on the street for at least half an hour. He was quite knowledgeable on and put things into a historical perspective. Think of him as a mellow guy with Josh's knowledge. The world needs more young people with that kind of insight into the past.
Feels good to write a long entry...