Congratulations to all three debaters, Mr. Reid, Mr. Williams, and Ms Michael. To this observer all three made great points, and displayed with conviction, their concerns for the province. Up to this point the election has been really just a waiting game, almost a waste of a campaign, because Premier Williams public support is so high, over 75%.
It's been interesting to drive around St. John's to see a noticeable decrease in the number of campaign signs. It could be for several reasons - voter apathy because of the spending scandal, or just that "what's the point of spending energy on supporting a candidate who will likely lose". So this election has lacked any measure of suspense so far, any anticipation of a close race.
The dabate tonight was very lively, heated, and impressive in some ways, and not, in another. You can't help but appreciate the pressure that a live debate puts on political leaders. They are expected to know the issues, know the province and party histories, policies, and have ideas to offer the public. For their strong individual performances they are all commended.
While the debate was lively, it was also annoying. NTV's Fred Hutton is a good newscaster, my aunt loves him. However, during this debate, he made Jerry Springer look like a good moderator. The liveliness was mainly ignited by Liberal Gerry Reid. He was very fiesty, and convincing in his "seriousness" (anger) about issues like the energy plan, and his assertions that Williams ignores Labrador on various issues. Unfortunately, his spirited verbal shots were allowed to be totally out of control by moderator Mr. Hutton.
The debate was too loose in the two way exchanges. Reid was not only louder than Williams and Michael but was almost non-stop talkative while the others were responding. Reid made many points but he really should have allowed the others proper opportunities to respond, rather than continue nearly shouting. It was next to impossible to hear Williams replies many times. There should have been better moderation of this debate.
Lorraine Michael was excellent! She came across as very well spoken, level headed, calm, yet assertive, sincere and bright.
Danny said things that his supporters wanted to hear, "no more giveaways", "we're entering a period of transition to 'have' status". He has not lost any political ground from tonight. Lorraine represented the NDP very well, and if they gain more seats, it would probably be at the Liberal's expense.
With huge developments on the horizon for the province it would be better to see much more debate/discussion time on one major development issue at a time. For example, set aside at least 20 minutes to discuss the Hebron Memorandum of Understanding, 20 for the Lower Churchill Development, 20 for the energy plan, etc. Perhaps the media should consider this to allow more open discussion of significant developments that will affect NL's people and their future.