Monday, November 26, 2012

Third Debate: Ryan Meili

As per the last round of individual reviews, I'm including this disclaimer. 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.


1.) I noticed Ryan looking around the room and into the crowd a lot more often than I did during the first debate; which increases his own connection with the audience and really helps forge a stronger connection with the people listening.

2.) Ryan also addressed his 'indoor voice' issue during the debate; and while he continues to speak in a mild-mannered way (and as noted before, it's a strength for him and would perturb people if it changed) he did a much better job at emphasizing key words and points during this debate.

3.) Ryan found himself the subject of all the questions by the other candidates in the first questions round; and I thought he handled himself very well and was able to effectively address the concerns that were put forward; with one possible exception...


1.) That exception being his answer to Cam's question about remaining involved in the party if he doesn't win the leadership and whether or not he would seek a seat in the legislature. I think there's a lot riding on this particular question, and Ryan's answer was both affirming but also non-committal at the same time. I don't think you can say that you would provided you were welcomed in, which suggests that there's concern you wouldn't be; then turn around and say that no one on the stage seemed like they would exclude you. It seemed like a non-answer, and I think, it doesn't quite defuse the worry of Ryan dropping out of the limelight if he doesn't become leader.

2.) From the sounds of it, though I could be wrong, it sounded as though Ryan completely reused his closing statement from Regina (though in fairness, he wasn't the only candidate to do so.) I think over the course of fourteen debates, it's important for the candidates to use the time provided to them wisely. A reusing a closing statement seems like a wasted opportunity to add to the debate.

Areas for Growth

I think the first thing Ryan's campaign needs to do is fully defuse the 'will he or won't he' question of what happens if Ryan doesn't become leader; by fully putting the question to bed, and not hemming and hawing about what ifs. I think there is also tremendous growth for Ryan to tailor his closing statements at future debates. His website has been very good at getting in ideas from supporters, so whether he wanted to use his closing statement as a 'testing pool' to get a feel for how those ideas play or even as just a way of getting those ideas into the debate, I think would be an improvement over reusing a similar closing statement.

Final Thoughts

I think Ryan did well in this debate; his mannerisms while addressing the crowd improved and he remained pretty calm and composed while under question by the other candidates. I think he does have some room to grow in firmly answering questions, as well as ensuring the best use of his time on stage to enhance the debate; whether that is fleshing out more details about his SaskPharma or Bank of Saskatchewan ideas, or simply introducing topics provided by supporters through his website.


Anonymous said...

If those are the biggest negatives you can pull on Ryan then he is obviously first choice. I feel he was being honest with his answer about running in the next election if he is welcomed to do so. Who would want to run if they felt excluded or not supported in full by opponents within the party?

Scott said...

I get the feeling Ryan may be your first choice; however, I am still quite undecided on the issue.

And while the negatives may not seem too biting, the point of these posts isn't to be biting but to be rather suggestive and helpful.

These are areas I think the candidates can improve upon, and were things that really stood out in terms of what was said during the debate.

Like I said, Ryan's answer on the stage was a non-answer. He said that it didn't seem like anyone on the stage would exclude anyone else; on that thought alone, he should have unequivocally committed to running.

If you compare it to Erin's response to the same question, he didn't give it a second thought: He confirmed that win or lose he will run in the next election.

As such, I think it is a valid criticism given the way the question was answered. There was ambiguity, despite Ryan's own confirmation that his fellow candidates seemed welcoming.