Palin Vs. May ... and Palin will win.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 13, 2008

We have yet another reason to be disappointed in the federal election debate: the date. Because we allow a media consortium dominated by private media interests to determine the date of the debate, the debate is scheduled for a day that has the least impact on said media interests' bottom lines.

This means that the 2008 federal election debate is held on the night when the big networks in the States are running something else particularly interesting to political junkies: the US Vice-Presidential candidates' debate. I, for one, would rather watch to see if the Republican political machine can teach Palin enough to be able to compete with an experience political operative such as Biden. Based on Palin's wooden performance in friendly interviews this week, I'm begining to doubt it.

My desire to watch the US debate is only increased by knowing the Canadian debate will be a donnybrook between five leaders. 

What's worse is that while most Canadians do not watch the federal election debate, many tune into the news coverage after to learn how the debate went, who fared best and who performed the worst. However, because we let this consortium control the date and timing of the debate, this will not happen this year. The federal election debates, normally run in the early evening, will air between 9 and 11 pm. If one's regular newscast is at 10 (as mine is), I'm willing to bet people will go to bed instead of staying up an extra hour to watch the debate coverage. 

I've never been convinced that the debates actually mattered much to the election process, but this set of circumstances indicates that the 2008 election debate will matter very little to anyone save the Green Party, and they've already made the hay they need to off of it.



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Looking south for inspiration and entertainment

One could argue that the Canadian political debates are lackluster because there is no sharp contrast among the personalities of the candidates. The Mulroney vs. Turner and the free trade debate is perhaps the last time Canadian politicians and Canadians got fired up about issues of concern to the country.

I think we look south for inspiration and entertainment because 4 elections in 6 years (or thereabouts), has made us tired and weary. Where is the spunk and hutzpah in Canadian politicians? In contrast, the US election contenders are a diverse and colourful lot who are vying for power at an important time in American history: America is at a crossroads, and whoever wins will have a very tough job ahead of them. The US election is exciting in so many ways.

How interesting that Canadian voter turnout is typically much higher than that of Americans.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch in the upcoming Canadian election will be to see who forms the official opposition, and how Harper will wear egg on his face if he gets another minority government and will be forced to work with the same players he stated brought him to the election in the first place.

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