Tuesday, March 13, 2007

un Opie unique au Quebec...

It appears that along with all the other singular french celebrities, political stars, media outlets and international events, we have one more iconic parallel to the american celebrity. I'm talking of course about Opie of Mayberry. It gave me shivers watching the debate last night, reminiscent of the veep showdown between Cheney and John Edwards 2 years ago, and of course, who could forget the Duceppe-Layton-Martin-Harper hoe-down from 2005?

Mario went into this looking like the fiesty incumbent who was going to do some good. He has a wobbly position on Quebec sovereignty, but it's been in his favour since few people actually want a referendum, but most Quebecers understand deeply how little interest or sympathy Ottawa has for this province. I was expecting him to take some deep digs at Charest and work to distance himself from Boisclair's position and history on sovereignty. In other words, I again was expecting to be impressed and I was left sorely disappointed. Mario Dumont was possibly the saddest, most desperate attempt at a candidate I have ever seen in my days of watching debates. He had good points and he had interesting things to say. His worst blunder? That of most men: timing. He jumped in both feet first without sussing his opponents. He seemed to forget that he was in a room with Charest, a heavyweight who won the last election based on debate tactics, someone who wasn't going to be taken by surprise on his own turf. Boisclair handled himself like a pro. He was calm and collected the entire time, and even if his hand movements were distracting, he presented himself calmly and with aplomb. Both men took advantage of Dumont's high-pitched blustering to appear confident and statesmanlike. Even when all three of them became animated over the various topics, in comparison, Dumont appeared to be a small child at the grownups table, not quite understanding why he's getting stern looks from his elders.

The paper was a tactic and that was just sad. Charest pulled exactly the same thing in the last debate he had against an opponent, and I'm sure Dumont had that in mind when he brought it out. Sadly though, by bringing it up at the wrong time he got questioned by the mediator, and by brandishing it (one must not show papers to the camera) he got reprimanded as well. Finally, the difference that makes me quite ill. People died under that bridge. The photo I remember most that day was of the small boy looking on where he lost both parents and an uncle. He was probably wondering who was going to take him home. Charest has already developed a commission to investigate and quite right as this is the way to address such a thing. By pulling out an accusation that Charest knew the overpass was deteriorating and did nothing, Dumont gave up his persona of the concerned citizen looking for change and became that viper-tongued monster we've all seen over the years: a politician. And not a very good one. Charest was able to stand gravely, appearing to protect the event from political exploitation and at the same time appear to be completely distanced from the issue. It doesn't help that the document itself does not assert what Dumont says it does, it reads that a special investigation into the structure should be undertaken. No mention is made of danger, impending collapse or structural damage.

Boisclair could have won if he had been in another party. That's what kills me about the silver fox every time! He knew it was his first debate and he had to make it work, and by pacing himself and not letting up, he seemed to be the clearest thinker, the most level-headed man in the business. It came to naught however, as another referendum is a huge gamble and Charest was able to stroke the fence jockeys by reminding them that Ottawa recognizes Quebec as a nation. It doesn't actually mean anything, but then, it doesn't have to.

Notwithstanding the question of a referendum at all, if we had one and separated, would we then get to see a debate between Boisclair and Gilles Duceppe for leadership of the new nation? I would pay good money for that! Gilles would eat him alive!

There was no real winner last night, but the loser was definitely clear. The debate was between Charest and Boisclair, ostensibly Referendum or no as that is the only issue on which the two leaders truly disagree. Dumont will have to pack his lunch and go home and remember the kind words of his father who later became Matlock, it's not winning or losing that matters, it's how you play the game.


Craig Sauvé said...

You're so in love with Duceppe it makes me sick :)

Seriously, though: I agree with you on your analysis of Dumont, he got stuffed and mostly by Boisclair at that. Can you believe the Gazette's headline today? 'Dumont skates to a win,' I once suspected, but am now quite certain, that nobody at the Gazette can speak le français.

And who's Opie?

Freshwater Mermaid said...

...he's hot, what can I say? sigh. It's his beliefs I don't agree with, but those piercing blue eyes, the kind, confident features....and talk about a Party Leader! He is revered among the sovereigntists and did you see how Charest and Boisclair were each trying to tell how much Duceppe liked their plans better? mmmmmmmm....

The Gazette is poo unless you're looking for a paper only about the English city of Montreal and you're not interested in the least in any other city in QC. Remember, they're owned by Canwest, and the similar papers in the system are such intellectual giants as the Ottawa Citizen (poo) and the National Post (hilarious poo). I'm a Globe and Mail kind of girl, they're owned by BellGlobalMedia and at least they report fully on the stories they cover. To get an accurate Quebec picture of things, I do what you do. 4 newspapers and a bottle of aspirin.

Opie was Ron Howard's first role as the son of Andy of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith show. He was a sherrif in small-town america. Andy went on to be Matlock and Ron went on to be Richie Cunningham in Happy Days and then became a movie director and created such piercing, incisive dramas as Forest Gump and the Davinci Code. He also made Arrested Development which basically makes it a wash in my books.

...media junkie! so much old television is taking up valuable brain cells....