Practise makes perfect.
The three rookie candidates showed significant improvement in their debating skills for the third Halton candidates debate last night. Collard is getting a little better about getting her nose out of the page, Wagner managed to keep his tongue largely untangled and even worked up some genuine emotion (although he still talks too fast), and Raitt only mentioned her kids maybe half a dozen times.
I didn't get the tape rolling until a fair ways in (I was trying to be subtle), so I missed recording the opening statements which were... interesting. Garth started right off the bat saying that he would use his closing statements to say why we should vote for him, but would use his opening statement to explain why we shouldn't vote for Lisa Raitt. And then he went on the attack, hauling out everything from her parachute ride into Halton to her tainted record with the Toronto Port Authority.
It was a bold move for what should have been a quiet little local debate, and I'm not sure it was the wisest approach as it set a rather hostile tone that the audience didn't seem to appreciate. On the other hand, it got all that on the record and out of the way right from the beginning, it put her on the defensive, and left her looking like the hostile one whenever she tried to get her own back later in the debate. And it seemed to be forgotten as the debate wore on.
Still, I found it a bit much for the circumstances. But what do I know.
Here are the four candidates explaining their personal positions on Afghanistan. I started with this one because a) it shows Raitt falling back on the old "it's all about those poor oppressed women" excuse, which ranks up there with "bringing democracy to Iraq" and the Domino Theory as one of the most cynical and disingenuous post-invasion justifications for war this century, and b) Rob Wagner calls her on it and thereby gives his best answer of the evening - and I promised to say something nice about him.
There you go, Rob.
More video to come...