realistically this was an interesting debate but there were a few factors

  1. Ignatieff got himself in a groove and kept it up all night long (over and over and over all he could say was the same few words there was nothing new)
  2. Harper ignored all the criticism and refused to answer direct questions about his refusal to release financial details both about the G20/G8 summit and his justice bills(which contrary to his telling is the actual physical cause of this election regardless if the budget would have triggered one or not)
  3. Duceppe actually once again handled himself quite well for a person who has almost no hope of ever holding the title of prime minister (technically with 75 seats in Quebec and 5 parties sharing 308 ridings any leader who contests over 62 seats could in reality hold the position of prime minister)
  4. Layton was a concern for me going into the election giving his previous health history and his appearance on the day of the no confidence vote. That concern went away for me last night as i realized he actually looked healthier then I had seen him in years. (Some might be led to believe he thrives during an election period)
  5. May will pick up sympathy points simply on the fact that once again she was blocked from attending the debate even though she is running candidates in most if not all ridings

The only thing all four leaders did agree on was that the auditor general should release her report now.  I believe this is a ploy on Harper’s part because he knows legalities hold her back from releasing this report, however I would almost pay to see his face if she does decide to follow the request of the leaders.

I would tend to suggest that the winner of this debate would be Jack Layton followed closely by Gilles Duceppe. Ignatieff is quickly proving he has as much of a control issue as Harper and is almost turning the liberal party into a laughing stock. As scared as people are of a Harper majority if people do not want that then they are going to quickly have to start turning to either the NDP or the Greens to provide a viable opposition to the Conservatives because even if the Liberals do not implode their party this election it will likely happen by next election unless they get a lot smarter in choosing their leaders.

There are a few suggestions I would make to each of the leaders if they realistically want to improve both their profile and the profile of their party.

Harper

  1. Loosen the reins. Even if you do not hold as tight a control on your party as it appears, simply the appearance of the stranglehold that is perceived by many is enough to scare voters.
  2. Not all great ideas come from Conservatives. Voting down an idea and then recycling it as one of your own does not fool voters, If the idea is good when it is yours it was good when it was theirs, work with others to make these good ideas great.

 

Ignatieff

  1. Loosen the reins. Even if you do not hold as tight a control on your party as it appears, simply the appearance of the stranglehold that is perceived by many is enough to scare voters. In your case this is even worse because at least the conservatives have parrots repeating his thoughts, you don’t because we very rarely hear from any others in your party.
  2. Arrogance. You probably are as smart as you think you are. Most everyone else actually accepts that. But looking down your nose at people and giving the impression that you are the only person in the country with a real, intelligent thought will do nothing to win you support.

Duceppe

  1. You are actually good leadership material. If you could move away from separatist leanings with your party and took it to a truly national level you actually could win and potentially quite strongly.

May

  1. Plan ahead. Everyone knew that the consortium would block you from the debate if they could. The lawsuit should have been launched in such a way to get it heard before the election and phrased in such a way as to allow any party who has sufficient candidates to hold at minimum a minority government position should be allowed an opportunity to be heard equally regardless of wishes of the consortium.

Layton

  1. Watch what times the polls have you listed highest. Basically do not beat down or fight against an idea just because it is from the governing party. Your parties positions are well known. If a bill is a start, even if it does not have everything you need, try to get an amendment or two and pass it either way.  Show you can work with the government and will not just vote against them any time you can and you will get your chance in the PMO.  Any bill that does not completely meet your expectations at that time can be improved on when you get there.

There also seems to be a general concept that democratic reform is necessary but each party has different issues. All five party leaders should sit down. ( I will even moderate or work a good plan between you) and come up with a good democratic reform bill that you could all unanimously accept.