My thoughts about the debate


Jaimie didn’t get to go into town after supper for a walk last night. Don’t worry; he did get to walk up and down the road. We wanted to watch the debate so the timing didn’t work out. I did have it set to record but we wanted to see it live if we could. I also wanted to monitor reactions on Twitter. That can be more beneficial (and entertaining). It was interesting to see that it was broadcast on a number of networks and we watched it on Global.

Moderators

The debate had two moderators – Althia Raj and Steve Paikin and I thought both of them did a good job. Despite the warning at the beginning by Paikin that microphones would be turned off if people went their time allotment, I don’t think that it actually ever happened. There were times that I sure would have hit the kill switch. I felt that Paikin was treated by respect by the candidates but there were times when Raj was just talked over when she tried to do her part. That just wasn’t right. In her opening remarks, Raj made mention that the candidates were asked not to bring notes. Not all followed that suggestion.

Media

I think that it’s important to note that “how” people do things when they’re on public display can be as interesting as “what” they say. Subliminal messages and all that. When we first tuned it, Ms. Horwath was getting a platform to elevate her. I thought that was a bit odd; it could have been done in advance and I would have thought that there would have been a chance to do an audio and camera check and that could easily have been done then. It wasn’t a simple operation either. I kept watching it. Were they reinforcing the fact that she’s an underdog?

Despite the fact that candidates were told not to bring notes, the moderators clearly had a teleprompter for their use as well as their own notes on paper in front of them. The candidates had cameras focused nicely on them and the angle clearly showed that Mr. Ford had a binder in front of him. You could see him look down at times and, if you missed that, Mr. Del Duca and Ms. Horwath pointed out a few times that it was there (in a nice way but the message was received).

Healthcare

With a nurse to the left of me, this section was of particular interest to her. In our region, we have seen shuffling as we moved from 5 hospitals to one hospital with three campuses and the services that each offer are different. I’d hate to come from out of town and need a service only to go to a location that doesn’t offer it. We’ve been going around and around about the need for a new hospital for years and we now have a sign out in a farmer’s field with people still complaining about its location. It’s going to be a while.

I thought that more time could have been spent talking about how the province handled COVID. Regular readers of this blog know that I thought that Ford did a good job in the beginning when we had no idea what it was all about. He did reinforce the fact that we now have regained the ability to make our own PPE in the province. The government has eased up on things like reporting cases, opening schools quickly, and dropping mask mandates. That made it an easy target.

I thought that all of the candidates could have addressed how their government would help hospitals catch up on the backlog of operations.

It doesn’t take long in any discussion about nurses to realize that there are so many of them that are frustrated and ready to leave the profession. What are we prepared to do that?

Education

And, of course, I was really interested in this. Mr. Ford set the stage with a statement that I felt compelled to send to the Twitter stream which was really active at this time!

How could you argue with that? The other three really didn’t. The biggest point of debate was the closing of schools and shots were fired at both the Conservative and Liberal past decisions. Around here, we have seen a number of school closures and it’s really sad. I think the worse is when the secondary school in a community is closed and the students have to be bused to another community for school. It really makes extra-curriculars difficult or impossible.

Mr. Ford also made another comment about how his government is preparing students for jobs. I still remember a university professor telling us “If the only reason you’re in my class is to get a job, you’re going to be disappointed. My job is to teach you how to solve problems.” Isn’t that why we’re teaching, as Mr. Ford says coding in Grade 1?

There really was no discussion about curriculum or post-secondary and only a passing mention of the optional Grade 13 year by Mr. Del Duca.

Overall, I was disappointed with the topic of education.

Highway 413

Not surprisingly, this was a big point of contention. They couldn’t agree whether it would save drivers 30 minutes or 30 seconds once it’s complete! It’s going to be a huge expense.

But the big issue that should concern everyone is the impact on the environment and this is where Mr. Schreiner shone. He’s correct in his assessment that any time a road is built, green and farmland gets swallowed up. I thought he spoke passionately about this while the others argued about who was going to make money from the project. And that’s important too.

Mr. Ford talked about a number of other construction projects and slipped in Highway 3 which we locals have called “The Bypass” for a number of years. It’s been the source for a large number of accidents over the years. There are all kinds of trucks moving produce from Leamington and Kingsville on it every day.

Mr. Ford also talked about the removal of tolls which include the 418 and 412 but the 407ETR still remains a puzzle to me. I know that the province doesn’t own it but surely if they’re going to take over farmland north of Toronto, they could find some way of getting this back. When headed to Eastern Ontario, I do appreciate those highways and the price to use does add up. I can understand why people don’t commute on it regularly.

Can we be bought?

The big move from the Conservative government was the removal of buying stickers for the renewal of our license plates. Is that enough to buy your vote? Is Mr. Ford reminding us that the other parties would return the fee by doubling down on this issue?

It’s a reminder that my father told me once; they’ll give you a break here but they’ll get it back somewhere else.

I thought that this could have taken us to a discussion of inflation, price of gas, etc.

Violence

Missing was a chance to talk about law and order. Particularly with the incident in Buffalo, we should be looking inwardly instead of pointing fingers. What could we be doing? You’re pretty naive if you don’t think things are happening in our province.

Especially with the Buffalo incident, you can’t talk about violence without talking about racism and we’re not squeaky clean there either.

The Winner

To be honest, I thought that we might last a bit and then turn the channel to Heavy Rescue 401 for the evening but we went the distance with the debate.

It’s too bad that, in Ontario, we don’t get a chance to vote for the Premier. If we did, Mr. Schreiner would get my vote hands down. I thought that he came across very much under control and logical. Around here, I have yet to see a green lawn sign.

At times, the debate was like tuning in and watching the legislature where one person talks and then others throw out insults and digs somewhat related to the topic. Mr. Schreiner observed the timelines and didn’t try to keep talking when he reached the limit. I thought that was a real level of professionalism.

As I scan the news this morning, each of the parties is lauding the accomplishments of their leader and that’s to be expected. In my mind, I’d be hard pressed to pick someone who came in second.

The Format

Overall, the format was interesting with a chance to take a stance, candidates squaring off one to one and then a free-for-all. It doesn’t make for the greatest of discussions and certainly not debating like I learned at high school. But, it does make for good television I guess.

I often wonder, instead of giving the threat to cut people off, they don’t do things like we see in addressing supreme courts on issues. The speaker has a series of lights in front of him/her that count down and then the microphone goes absolutely dead and they are done. I guess that doesn’t make for good television either.

I have to give credit to the moderators; they seemed to be unruffled by the format and the reactions of the candidates. Kudos to them for that.

You can watch the entire debate here.

Did you watch the debate? Do you agree with my assessment or do you have other thoughts? Please share them in the comments below.

OTR Links 05/18/2022


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