Thursday, September 07, 2006

The debates

First here are links to the videos:
I missed the debates but will be watching them later this evening and posting my thoughts.


I've watched both debates. Most everyone has commented on the English debate and I agree with them that Graham held his own but if there was a winner it was Lord.

So instead here is a play-by-play of the French debate which I think was won handily by Graham, much as Graham won the French debate in 2003. I do not understand why it is that Graham seems to do so much better in the French debate when Lord has better language skills and when Graham seems afraid to use his French in the legislature... in any event, here we go, my view on the French Debate:

OPENING STATEMENTS: Lord very, very good. Graham's French better than usual, his opening though "Etes-vous pret pour un changement" for one thing and another his tone almost sounded like he was suggesting change was risky! He improved after that.

Lord wins opening statements.

HEALTH: Moderator almost wholly focuses on the future of health in the Acadian Peninsula, the Caraquest hospital downgrading, a potential Pokemouche regional hospital, lack of specialists in the North.

Graham focuses province-wide in his statement though with a rural focus. Plugs his idea for an associate deputy minister on francophone health.

Lord outlines his record in terms of new hires, elimination of ambulance fees, investment in new technologies. Plugs dialysis service which he brough to the Péninsule.

Graham says Lord is happy with how health, he is now. Speaks about his plan to improve senior plan. Lord responds that his government was the first in a long time to do anything for seniors, the Liberals neglected it. Lord speaks about his plan to protect senior assets. Graham says the Liberals had been proposing that for 3 years and Lord voted against it on more than one occassion and that Lord has changed policy only because he is afraid of losing power. Lord says it was the previous Liberal governments that caused problems for seniors.

Graham wins the health portion.

HOMECARE: Lord talks about his plan to provide money for home renovations to keep seniors requiring special access in their homes. Graham says that actual salaries for homecare workers has fallen under Lord, the Liberals would address this. Lord says that seniors deserve better and goes on about this for some time with respect to his ideas. Graham responds that he agrees that seniors deserve better and that is why it is time for a change. Graham says as it stands seniors in homes do not even get bathed frequently and often do not get hot meals. Lord says his government from day one has been working hard to reverse previous Liberal cuts. Graham comes back again on the point that the difference between he and Lord is that Lord things everything is good, the Liberals want things to be better.

Graham wins the homecare portion.

QUESTION FROM A VOTER: Why does an English hospital in Saint John get three heart labs while there are none in a French hospitals.

Graham says that improving access to health care in French is important and that is why he is appointing the assoicate deputy minister. Gets cut off by the moderator. Lord says that his new Official Languages Act protects and ensures equal linguistic access to care. Lord says he'll work with RHAs to perpetually improve access. Graham says Lord's decisions as to where to put health services is based on politics, the Liberals will do it based on expert advice. Lord plugs his medical training programs that the first one is French in Moncton with an English program to follow in Saint John. Lord says Graham's plan enlarges the bureaucracy and takes money away from hiring more doctors.

Lord wins this portion of the debate.

ENERGY: Lord says he understands energy costs are important for "you". Says this is why he is rebating the provincial portion of HST for heat and brought in gas regulation. Says this is why he has promised to cut the gas tax if re-elected by 4.5 cents. Graham says Lord raised gas taxes by 3.8 cents and the Liberals will cut it by that much. Speaks of higher power rates, the Orimulsion fiasco. Graham says he will help people lower their power bills by giving them money to retrofit their homes. Graham will boost energy generation with green energy.

On conservation Lord says they set up Efficiency NB headed by Elizabeth Weir including programs for home renovation. Lord says he will maintain gas regulation because it works and that Graham wants to change the regulation system with the support of the oil industry and consumers will play. Graham tries to cut him off, Lord continues to talk but the moderator intervenes and gives the floor to Graham. Graham cites PC candidate Peter Hyslop's call for someone to apologize for Orimulsion. Graham says that this was not a million dollar mistake, it was a billion dollar mistake. Says this is why power rates are high. Graham asks if Lord has an apology for his absence of leadership on this point.

Lord says the refitted Coleson Cove for environmental reasons and that Graham has been on a negative campaign. As he is cut off, he aks Graham if the government has a case against Venuzuela. Graham responds it was Lords error not his, that it is Lord's candidate looking for an apology and reiterates "millions not billions". Lord says Graham is against New Brunswickers in their rights to sue Venuezula, Graham says it was Lord's fault for entering into the work without a contact.


ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CHOICES (including nuclear): Graham says a new Liberal government will make NB a leader in the conservation and generation of energy. Graham says his home retrofit plan will do 30,000 homes a year while Lord's does only 1,000. Lord says conservation is important and this is why he created Efficiency NB. Lord goes back after Graham on Orimulsion trying to turn the tables, saying Graham needs to support New Brunswickers and NB Power in their lawsuit against Orimulsion.

Graham wins by a nose (pardon the pun).

ECONOMY: Graham restates his statement that Lord is content but the Liberals want better. Says a new approach on the economy is required. Says he will directs a $100 million fund to the Restigouche, Chaleur, Peninsula and Miramichi areas. That people need have their pride and ability to start business restored. Lord says that there are more New Brunswickers working since he took office, contrasts his job creation record with the previous Liberal government.

Grahams talks about auto insurance. Says Lord's system is not working and that a Graham government would immeadiately negotiate with insurance companies to lower rates and that the Liberal are committed to public insurance if the insurance companies are not cooperative. Lord says Graham is inconsistent on his insurance position: says that Graham said in the House that he was in favour of public insurance, he says the same in Francophone area but in English areas it is only public insurance as a last resort. Graham says Lord cannot blame him for what is wrong with insurance as he is in opposition, if Lord wants Graham to be able to make the decisions, then let him govern.

Graham wins here.

QUESTION FROM VOTER: What will you do about wages, people are moving away because pay is too low. What about minimum wage, etc.

Lord there is a big differnce between him and the Liberals. The Conservatives respect taxpayers and have cut taxes while the Liberals opposed those tax cuts. Says he raised the minimum wage. Graham says he is ready to change the economic situation on the Acadian Peninsula. Restates his $100 million economic plan. Talks about his plan for small and medium sized businesses.

Lord explains his plan for all of rural New Brunswick and his strong relationship with Harper which will help him access federal funds to improve the roads in Northern NB. Graham again says "Lord thinks everything is going well, but not me". Graham says lots of people are leaving for Alberta and Ontario for better paying jobs. He says that Lord may have raised the minimum wage but not enough to keep pace with rising wages in the rest of the country. Graham says Lord can say his is running negative but it is postive to create jobs and bring hope back to people.

Lord says he has made progress but there is more to be made and that the 5-in-5 plan will help with that.

Lord had a slight edge here I think as much as it pains me to say it because I hate the 5-in-5 plan.

EDUCATION: Lord says, "as a parent, I understand" that education is the number issue for parents. This is why he has brought record investment in education, hired more teachers, reduced class sizes, built new schools, improved phys ed and literacy programs, etc. Graham: "Again, Lord is happy with the status quo..." Says that NB has the lowest test results in the country and that is not acceptable. Says a Liberal government will adopt the recommendations of the MacKay report, open more community college spaces and improve access to universities. Our children deserve a change in education, a solid foundation through a solid education. Lord says the last time there was a cut in education was when the Liberals were in power. Lord says that when Graham cites low test results it is an insult to hard working teachers and hard working students. Graham responds with a fair bit of passion about education, largelly high level puff stuff, but with passion. Says Lord wants to fight old elections talking about old records but the Liberals want to change for the future. Lord steals Graham's phrase but twists it saying "Once again, you think everything is bad in NB". Lord says it is too expensive to implement all of the MacKay report recommendations but they have set aside money for some.

Graham wins this portion.

A QUESTION FROM VOTER: NB invests less than the rest of the country in training for daycare workers.

Graham holds up his platform and says it is addressed in his platform where they will improve salaries and benefits for workers and will double the training spaces and the spaces for children. Lord says he has invested $95 million in this over the past 7 years. Says he will invest in training and spaces.

They debate this in circles with out much fire or passion from either leader. Graham restates "you have had seven years to do that".


CLOSING STATEMENTS: Graham that there is a little more than a week to an election that will have a significant effect on NB. Says his team of candidates is stronger and his platform is stronger. Says Lord is happy with the status quo and has seven years to improve government but has not. It is time for a change of attitude, direction and government. Hopes NBers will give him the chance to improve the province.

Lord says first he would like to thank Mr. Graham for the debate. The reality is a lot of progress has been made in the past seven years and he wants the opportunity to build upon his success. Goes over the 5-in-5 plan in some detail. He is working for you children, your families and your parents and grandparents. I invite you to chose a positive option and positive results.

About even with a slight edge to Graham.

Strangely while the credits were running and the leaders spoke with the moderator, a worker of Lord's came out on stage and removed his papers.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great rundown of the debate. I missed it last night as I was out blitzing door to door. You have to take every opportunity to get out to see people! Debate or no debate.

Anonymous said...

Overall not that exciting a debate. No knock out. Graham had a slight edge. He had no record to defend while Bernard Lord has lot of fiascos and that is where is edge for Graham comes in.

Anonymous said...

Graham attacked, but where is his substance... Criticizing is easy... He doesn't even come close Bernard Lord when it comes to leadership qualities , and unfortunately for him he will probably lose his seat too....

Anonymous said...

What leadership qualities? He does not have the guts to admit his negligence on Orimulsion issue and say sorry. $2.2 billion, that is lot of dow.

Reg said...

The Liberals are really doing the province a disservice on Orimulsion since they know damn well they can cry over $2.2. billion on signs and in ads while the PC's can't say a word about it. The minute they say "the loss is only $750 million", Venezuela's lawyers would use it against NB's case. The $2.2 billion is an inflated amount in a legal case. It has nothing to do with the true costs. Yes, the screw up was massive and those in charge at NB Power are rightfully gone, but it speaks volumes about the ethics of the Liberals as they use something like this to score political points.

Either that or Graham doesn't have a clue about how legal cases work which is also a distinct possibility.

Spinks said...

8:31 anon, you're obviously a candidate (probably a Liberal). Why the anon moniker?

Reg, I agree. The orimulsion thing is a funny thing to surround your campaign on. Someone at Liberal HQ figured it would be the 2006 auto insurance issue which would put them over the top. Clearly that has not been the case.

nbpolitico said...

Spinks - anon could just be a campaign worker canvassaing with or for a candidate.

I think it is fair game to say Lord lost us $2.2. billion. If the contract had been signed, we would have saved $2.2 billion. Period. We will not safe that because the contract was not signed. There will be a shortfall in future budgets of $2.2 billion because a contract wasn't signed.

That is a big deal to me.

Spinks said...

Could be, I suppose NBpolitico. Just curious. It's what we bloggers do.

Reg said...

"If the contract had been signed, we would have saved $2.2 billion".

That's a bold statement. You know where world energy prices will be in ten years? How much about the deal do you know? Was our price of Orimulsion fixed? What would've happened if oil prices fell back to $30 a barrel? Would we have been paying more for Orimulsion than heavy oil?

Point being, costs are costs. $750 million is bad enough but to try to claim the potential extra costs that may or may not occur due to circumstances over which no party involved have any control over (re: oil prices), as actual costs or at the very least imply they are by omission of context, well that's just bullshit.

Anonymous said...

"$2.2. billion" may look small to Lord supporters but it is lot of dough. 1/3 of total budget. $750 million excluding other losses is lot of dough for the Province of NB. Let us face it Lord was sleeping at the switch. You can minimize the damage but it is huge and Lord does not have guts say sorry.

By the way how legal fees have cost so far.

Usual mantra. Blame others. For all the other wows it is previous Liberal government and for Orimulsion it is NBPower officials. Lord must own up to his extraordinary blunders instead of blaming others. Shame.

I wonder who would he blamed for his election loss. May be Tanker.

Reg said...

That's some sweet spin Anon 3:26 to interpret my comment as blaming others and standing up for Lord not apologizing. But then again, I pointed out Liberal lies so I must be defending the Great Leader right?

Lord should apologize. There was a massive screwup under his watch. Nobody else to blame whatever. My point is the Liberals are simply lying when they say the cost to NB is $2.2 billion.

Anonymous said...

3:59 PM cost is $750 million retrofit, which was not required without Orimulsion, plus legal fees. Then potential $100 million a year for over 20 years that we would have saved on a cheaper fuel. If someone were awake then contract would have been signed. Lord government was so bent upon selling Colson Cove that it is quite possible that it ordered NBPower not to sign the contract. Only a thorough investigation will reveal those details. Lord government has done everything to obstruct such investigation. Cover up. It is a Nixonite approach by Bernard Lord.

Anonymous said...

If they are suing for 2.2 billion then thats a figure they set on, so why would the liberals choose a different number? As for the 'predictions', obviously the tories made the predictions when deriving the 2.2 billion, so again, why the heck would the liberals pick a different number?

The legal fees are the fault of the tories, so why wouldn't they be added? And again, if people think a billion dollar deal was being signed by a crown corporation without Lord's say so, all they have to do is look at Lepreau. One billion there too, has Lord not been involved or is it some senior bureaucrat?

They are right to focus on this, however, let's not give liberals all the say so. That's because its easier to talk about this than, say, public insurance. I've spoken with many people and insurance is very much on their minds. Premiums are still outragious and the companies are getting outragious profits with little investment in the province.

However, to talk about that would be to talk about 'doing something', namely nationalizing insurance, which they'd prefer not to do, and so don't like to talk about it.

There are literally dozens of issues where the liberals could be a truly opposing party, but they don't want to touch them because it would mean doing something different once in power, and they are beholden to the exact same powers as the tories.