So, we'll break this into the standard pro and con type of style, and hopefully managed to create something of substance. I want to try and not have one sided lists, or rather, have one side overpower the other; but we'll see what happens when we type it up.
Also, I'm worried some of this might sounder harsher than I mean it to. I want to assure you all that I am by no means belittling or attacking any of the candidates; rather, I'm offering my perceived take and ways to address what I see as problems from the first debate. If I offend anyone, I offer my apologies ahead of time, and assure you that my intention was not to offend; I suppose it is hard to discuss legitimate criticism, but I feel that we need to in order to really get the best out of our candidates.
Positives1.) I think one of the positives, and this is one that can be ascribed to all of the candidates, is that Cam is a pretty good public speaker. He managed to stay on topic, with one exception, and more or less managed to get his points across very well.
2.) Having mapped out his policy directions from day one, Cam has a lot of policy guidelines that he can draw on for a variety of questions. Having such a mapped out campaign should help prevent a curveball question that might put a different candidate on the spot.
3.) As noted in the general post for the debate; Cam was the candidate who was most mentioned (by my count) by the other three candidates on the stage. While it's not overly reflective of any specific point, being talked about (or agreed with, or even challenged) more than the other candidates suggests some real viability in Cam's campaign position.
4.) Cam's closing statement was very good at calling attention to the party's current fortunes in the province, and highlighting the need for guided rebuilding. At the very least, Cam certainly came across the candidate most likely to rebuild the party's fortunes by addressing the party's structure.
Negatives1.) The downside to Cam's policy guidelines is the generalities of the statements; Cam tried to counter this in the debate by suggesting that it's not always up to the leader to determine the ways of enacting the policy, but they can set the policy they want to strive towards. For now, it's a good deflection; but overtime, if Cam doesn't have at least one or two policies fleshed out in greater detail, it will continue to be something that other candidates can call negative attention to.
2.) While Cam's closing statement was very good at focusing on the need to rebuild the party, it stuck too closely to that theme and avoided segwaying into a discussion about how a rebuilt party could revitalize the province. If anything, it was a missed opportunity to really hammer home the necessity of repairing the party before we can hope to repair the province in government. Without providing that context, it sounds like Cam is more interested than rebuilding the party than he is in leading the province.
3.) Cam was one of two candidates, Erin being the other, to have a proposed policy directly challenged. While Cam didn't fumble the rebuttal, I don't think he fully managed to address the criticism directed at him. As such, and this draws a little on the first negative, Cam needs to reflect on the areas of policy that he may be criticized on and figure out the best way of not just deflecting, but negating, the criticism entirely.
Areas For GrowthAs noted in the main post, I think one of the main areas for Cam to improve on would be in loosening up a little more on stage. I've talked with Cam numerous times in person, and face-to-face, he's a nice, personable guy. While you get a glimpse of that during this first debate, especially when he talks about his past and his family, it still doesn't quite completely come across.
One avenue of doing this would be to try and step up humour during his answers, or even just during his opening or closing statements. I know Cam is personable, he just needs to better portray that in the next rounds of debates.