Monday, December 17, 2012

Some Notes on the Melfort Debate

Better late than never, I suppose; but with the holidays, I do tend to find a bit less time for blogging due to being back home with family. That being said, we'll take a look at the Melfort debate and we will have a few things to add later on about Ryan Meili's environmental policy and Erin Weir's latest call for the provincial government to address changes to the CPP.; not to mention the latest from the financial reports.

Like the debates that came before it, a lot of the same issues were touched on and the candidates stayed fairly close to the basic messages that they have been promoting; for Erin, that means hammering home the idea of selecting a leader who has a clear and detailed plan. For Ryan, that meant sticking to the broader theme of changing the conversation/way politics is done in the province. For Trent, that meant a focus on moving everyone in the province forward and reconnecting with communities across the province. For Cam, that meant a focus on the need to rebuild the party and a focus on shared futures.

Being in Melfort, there was a good opportunity to have a discussion about rural issues and all four candidates continued to expand on ideas that they have put forward previously; from a leader & caucus tour to the creation of field agents in rural areas.

One of the more interesting questions hinted back to the resource revenue sharing plan brought forward in the last election, asking if the candidates were supportive of such a plan. While everyone agreed that we need to work towards ending the inequality that exists within the province, not everyone truly answered the question. Trent and Ryan alluded to supporting the position, but with a caveat of having greater consultation. Erin spoke to how this policy was a disaster for the party in the last election, and didn't come out of being supportive of it, and instead focused on closing loopholes to raise revenue that way. Cam was the only candidate to fully stand by the policy, and explained quite well that the party needs to stand by its values, even when they come across as unpopular.

While that was an interesting moment in the debate, it seems to me that there was still no real knockout moment during the debate from any of the candidates. So again, we've gotten a good chance to hear all of the candidates present the policies that they have been working on since the campaign started; and I still feel that most of them are doing well in terms of getting those policies across, though everyone can always benefit of ensuring they stay within time limits and present answers concisely.

I'm toying with the idea of some 'New Years Resolutions' the candidates camps should make with regard to the next debates, and I think we'll go ahead a do it here in this post.

We'll start with Cam Broten. I think the resolution from this camp needs to be to retire the 'Alphabetical Seating' remark when Cam poses questions to Ryan. It's been used in several debates already, and personally, I think it doesn't come across very well in the grand scope of things.

For Erin Weir, I think his campaign resolution should be to focus on the future, as opposed to his past. I've mentioned before that I think Erin's raised his profile since the race began, and there's less need to define his background, and instead should keep focus on the policies that he's put forward since the race began. I think there's more to be said by keeping to the big picture that minimizes a focus on self, and it would be a good chance to highlight a lot of sound policies instead.

For Trent Wotherspoon, I think his campaign resolution should be to focus on keeping his answers concise. Trent is consistently a candidate whose answers tend to run a little longer than the time allotted, which is a credit to his passion for the issues, but once the microphone is cut off we tend to lose the last few policy points or ideas. This also means that it denies Trent the chance to provide a final 'sound byte' that helps the answer really hit home.

For Ryan Meili, I think his campaign resolution should be to minimize anecdotes and focus on policy. Ryan spends a lot of time talking about his background and past experiences, which leaves his ability to talk about campaign policies as slightly stunted. Ryan was one of the candidates a few of the others focused on for having less fleshed out policy when entering the race, and now that his campaign has put out several policy releases, it's time to ensure that those planks are being talked about fully and developed more as the race goes on.

I think that more or less sums up my thoughts from the Melfort debate; and should the La Ronge debate make its way online, we'll give it a talk since I think it will highlight some really good northern issues worth talking about. As mentioned above, we'll also talk shortly about the recent Ryan Environmental release, Erin's call for CPP enhancement, and the most recently financial reports in the coming days.

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