Not having anything better to do, might as well liveblog the leaders’ debate tonight. Will there be enough snide sarcastic comments about the leaders and TV networks to sustain a whole post? We’ll see.
19:00: LCN and RDI go live an hour ahead of the debate with boring analysis. LCN starts off with John Parisella, who is much better in French than I thought. It also features a CNN-style countdown to the debate. RDI, meanwhile, brings in their politician-hack-has-beens “Club des ex” for insight.
19:05: Oh wait, RDI’s coutdown is up, using some strange font which makes it unreadable (except in HD?). Among their important updates: Pauline Marois inspected the podium this afternoon, Mario Dumont has his hands in his pockets, and the leaders will be taking a group photo shortly.
19:07: RadCan’s Marc André Masson is at a bar in the Saguenay, assuming that people who watch political debates in bars form a representative sample of the electorate.
19:10: “L’analyse de nos ex” – would you want your ex analyzing you on TV?
19:12: Uncontent with their own analyses, LCN is asking its viewers to weigh in online.
19:13: What else is on? TVA has Occupation Double, CTV and Global have their entertainment gossip shows. CNN has Lou Dobbs. There’s never anything good on between 7 and 8.
19:15: RDI is asking an ADQ hack about how Mario Dumont will do tonight. Shockingly, the strategy will involve “talking directly to Quebecers” and getting away from those partisan politics everyone dislikes, but also talking to his opponents to their face and calling them on their policies.
19:18: LCN has also moved to asking politicians about politics, asking a PQ hack about Charest. Are they going through some playbook about how to fill time with nothing?
19:20: CPAC isn’t covering this yet, neither is the National Assembly channel.
19:21: LCN has the scoop: Jean Charest is late to his group photo! What does this mean for the election campaign? How will voters react to this stunning development?
19:22: LCN interrupts its partisan hack to show live video of the group photo. Everyone’s wearing black today (Charest’s ill-fitting suit last time was black, maybe they think it’s lucky?). Mario Dumont improvises a three-way handshake.
19:24: Analysis of Marois’s neckwear, or lack thereof.
19:25: First comparison to the Biden/Palin debate. Don’t get our hopes up, RDI.
19:33: Jean Lapierre is doing analysis from inside the Quebecor election bus.
19:34: Pauline Marois was apparently a bit nervous, but confident during the photo op handshake.
19:36: RadCan’s Vincent Grou is using a giant touch screen to talk about Québec solidaire’s response to the debate. It’s no magic map, but it is big.
19:43: Richard Martineau is live from a boardroon somewhere. Whoever’s handling his audio should be fired.
19:54: Can we start this thing already?
19:56: These LCN headsets are really bulky. What is this, 1990?
19:57: “There are two minutes left until the debate, which means there are only two minutes left until the debate starts”
19:59: Stéphane’s right. That’s a really sleek-looking table.
20:00: And we’re off! TVA, Télé-Québec, RadCan, RDI and LCN carrying it live. No anglo stations doing the same (including Montreal-based CBC, CTV and Global, because local programming is for wussies). And wasn’t the National Assembly channel supposed to have this too? And where’s CPAC? CTV Newsnet? NewsWorld? Isn’t this important?
20:03: Pauline, you’re leaning too far forward. Posture! Ooh, she’s promising to present a great plan.
20:05: Opening statements were short and infomercial-esque. Actually, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. If political debates were more like competing infomercials, they might be more entertaining.
20:06: I’m missing House for this. It’s better be good.
20:11: RDI’s running a news ticker, in case you can’t watch a debate without being ADD about it. RadCan and Télé-Québec are running the debate without graphics (besides their network bugs).
20:13: 10 minutes to retire a doctor, 10 years to train a new one, Charest says. Everyone take a drink!
20:19: Charest and Marois are arguing over who screwed up health care more. Dumont, meanwhile, hasn’t governed, so he can live in a fantasyland where “private” health care means “non-profit community-based cooperatives run by vegan hippies”
20:24: Marois and Charest are starting to sound like a married couple at a divorce hearing.
20:25: Charest repeats his “10 minutes to retire a doctor” line, for those who might have missed it all of 12 minutes ago. Time for another drink!
20:30: Someone’s being touchy with the sound levels. Just tape them down, everyone’s going to talk over each other anyway.
20:35: Mr. Charest, you have 45 seconds. Because people can easily formulate explanations of government policy in 45 seconds without descending into meaningless soundbites.
20:36: Galen Weston in a commercial on TQS reminds me that we should be thankful we don’t have non-francophones in this debate.
20:39: Spoiler alert: House is being taken hostage!
20:43: The Weather Network has a report on winter tires.
20:44: Charest’s tie was a bad choice. It’s giving that striped-tie-blurry effect on my TV.
20:46: Marois has a nice jacket. But is she wearing anything underneath it? (Oh good God why did I put that image in my head?)
20:52: Now all four of them are talking at the same time.
20:56: These people are talking over each other about pension fund management? Seriously?
21:01: Things we’re missing this hour:
- TQS: Translated version of Moment of Truth
- CBC: The Tudors
- CTV: Dancing with the Stars
- Global: NCIS
- NBC: The Biggest Loser
I guess this really is the most entertaining thing on right now.
21:05: The leaders are given 45 seconds to answer a question that took more than that to ask.
21:07: Marois rolls her ‘r’s really hard. I hope she has enough water to reload.
21:09: Marois takes credit for CPEs helping families and … nevermind, Charest just made my point for me. Marois stepped right into that hypocrisy.
21:14: Charest breaks the rules to point out the hypocrisy again. We heard you the first time, Jean.
21:19: Dumont almost got through his kids-want-to-wear-school-colours-not-gang-colours line. Do we drink?
21:21: Marois: “Si on était souverain…” Drink!
21:30: Le Québec de demain. Here’s the fun part. First question is about how Quebec’s fraction of the Canadian pie (population-wise) is getting smaller. Marois’s answer, is of course, to give up and separate. Dumont says we’ll reopen the constitution after the economic crisis is over (and once the kids are grown up, and when we get around to it…). Charest has no real answer, saying that Dumont and Marois are tied to the federal parties. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this question about Quebec’s dwindling population?
21:34: Dumont is saying – with a straight face – that the PQ’s position on sovereignty is vague.
21:37: Dumont’s talking contraband cigarettes. He points out that Health Canada doesn’t inspect them, and so we don’t know what they contain. This is an outrage. We need our kids to be smoking healthy cigarettes.
21:48: I really have nothing to add here. I lost interest 10 minutes ago. What’s tonight’s West Wing rerun about?
21:50: Did Dumont just check Marois out? What is he looking at down there?
21:51: Question: How will you be cool like Barack Obama?
21:52: Dumont is reassuring us (again) that every child has a talent. Really? Is there not a single child in the province that’s completely useless?
21:53: Marois’s “Quebec dream” is, of course, a strengthened Bill 101. That’s true. So many young kids in Quebec yearn for a future in which there is more government regulation of language. Yes we can!
21:55: Dumont seems confused about whether the PQ is for sovereignty or not.
21:57: Closing statements. Back to infomercial time!
21:58: Charest, try to look more frustrated at having to take part in this exercise. (“Tempête économique!” Drink!)
22:00: Wow, he just made it under the wire there. Only RDI jumps right into post-debate analysis. Everyone else switched back to regular programming at 10 on the dot.
22:02: LCN just went dead. Oops. Now it’s back.
22:03: TVA already has a package together. Not bad.
22:05: If you were watching the anglo newscasts, you’d have no idea there was a leaders’ debate tonight. Then again, you’d get the same idea watching TQS.
22:08: Everyone’s asking who won. (The spinning hasn’t started yet.) I think I won.
22:09: Jean Lapierre says he got over 1,000 emails from TVA viewers. I’m betting half of them want to help him make his penis bigger.
22:13: The candidates themselves will have self-spinning news conferences. TVA has gone on to more important news: It snowed today.
22:24: Did I miss anything? I was watching Prenez Garde aux Chiens.
22:26: Dumont’s talking anglo. But no anglo network is covering this, so I have to listen to the simultaneous translation and then re-translate it back to anglo in my head.
22:27: CPAC’s running the debate tape-delayed. Because it was so exciting the first time, you have to see it again!
22:29: Charest says if you didn’t like the debate, blame the consortium that planned it. Not his fault they acted like children.
22:47: That’s it. Now we’re getting into the hockey metaphors. That’s three and a half hours of my life I’m not getting back. Good night.