Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Debate: Erin Weir

Standard Disclaimer: 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.

Positives

1.) Given the company he's in, Erin established himself as a strong speaker in the first debate; his past media appearances gave some semblance of the type of speaker he would be, and I think he's solidified himself as one of the more forceful voices during the debate.

2.) With Erin's preference to provide fully-costed policy platforms, he arguably came across as the most prepared of the pack.

3.) Like Ryan, Erin is pretty good at using humour to get some of his points across. Furthermore, he's not above taking a few humourous shots at himself; so while his policies portray him very seriously, its nice to know that he is capable of not taking himself too seriously.

Negatives

1.) As it stands now, it seems that Erin is the only candidate actively trying to provoke the other candidates. While this is a process that the debates will need to go through, if he's the only candidate criticizing the others, it stands out and not in a good way. For now, I think Erin's debate approach would be better served by pulling some of the punches until there is a situation where all the candidates are swinging.

2.) Erin's closing statement was, in my mind, out of place. I say this because the other candidates only vaguely mentioned themselves, if they did at all, and focused instead on the wider vision they had for the province or for the party. Erin's closing statement focused completely on his experience and his history. Perhaps this was a first debate approach to defining Erin a little more to members who haven't paid much attention until now, but it just felt out of place when compared to the other statements.

Further to that point, I don't think Erin's candidacy really needs to the extra definition. He's been very good at staying in the media, both traditional and social, and I think even members who haven't been fully paying attention have a good idea of who he is and where he comes from. It just felt like wasted exposition instead of a chance to contrast Erin's own vision to counter the other three.

Areas for Growth

I think one of the areas Erin has for real growth is to focus less on calling attention to the other candidates and focusing solely more on his own policy. That isn't to say that he shouldn't respond to a challenge from another candidate, but he should try to stay away from being the first one to throw down the gauntlet. He's proud of mentioning that his policies are costed and he's explored the means of securing the revenue for his proposals, so I think he should hammer those points home more firmly.

Final Thoughts

I think Erin put to rest any concerns that he would be drowned out by the other candidates, and he's started to highlight that he's fleshed out some good policies. Furthermore, he's also a candidate that gets a lot of mention from the other candidates with regards to some of his policies; as such, to highlight his policies more and keep up good faith with the other candidates, I do think he needs to be more cautious about being the first candidate to try and get a rise out of the others.

It's fine when everyone else is ready to move the debate into an area where the candidates actively challenge each other, but when you're the only one doing it it comes across as a little bit desperate to add your voice to the conversation. But, when the conversation does reach that point,  I think Erin stands a good chance of really distinguishing himself in the fray.

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