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13 thoughts after watching the Vice interviews with Trudeau and Mulcair

  1. Stephen Harper is an idiot for refusing to do this interview. They lobbed softballs for the most part, and he might have even scored some points with young Canadians. His silence speaks volumes about how little he cares about anyone under the age of 35. Then again, we already knew that.
  2. Holy crap, I’m not part of the “under 35” cohort anymore. I feel old. Yikes.
  3. Justin Trudeau isn’t as practiced a public speaker as Tom Mulcair is. It was evident in the debates and evident in these town hall interviews. I appreciate that his answers are less scripted, but his rushed speaking style makes him seem nervous and younger than he is.
  4. On the other hand, Mulcair’s habit of using a pre-scripted soundbyte to answer each question reminded me uncomfortably of the “10 Word Answer” episode of the West Wing. Mulcair did sound a little more off the cuff and unrehearsed in French than he did in English, it’s worth noting.
  5. Trudeau mostly dodged the big questions, turning them all around to point a finger at Harper rather than propose his own concrete solutions.
  6. Mulcair did his share of finger-pointing too — at both Harper and Trudeau — but at least he backed his answers up with more solid information and policy proposals.
  7. Trudeau’s strongest moment was his finish, when he urged people to vote because “Harper doesn’t want you to”. That part *did* feel scripted. But he’s still right.
  8. Mulcair’s strongest moment was when he categorically denounced the politics of fear and scapegoating of Muslims with the niqab issue. “Weapon of mass distraction” is a great catchphrase. Ironically, this stance is unfortunately what’s costing him support in Quebec among the racist cohort.
  9. Policy-wise, Trudeau was most vulnerable on questions about Bill C51, security and human rights. Mulcair was unequivocal here — a luxury he had since the NDP voted the bill down, while Trudeau had to scramble to explain why he’d vote for a bill and then criticize it.
  10. Mulcair was IMHO most vulnerable on the Israeli/Palestinian question. A “balanced approach” in this context creates a false moral equivalency, and giving any credence to the crazed anti-Israel resolutions by the UN shows a shocking lack of perspective. The NDP’s track record on Israel is pretty terrible, and even though Mulcair has been trying to clean house from his party’s fringe element, I won’t deny that this makes me very uncomfortable.
  11. Of course, nobody asked Trudeau the question, so he didn’t get a chance to respond, though he has stated his strong support for Israel in other interviews, and the Liberals have a good track record there.
  12. The NDP wants to bring in a tax credit for microbreweries. Nice!
  13. After watching both interviews, I’m leaning somewhat more towards the NDP than I was before. Mulcair came across as more informed and more decisive policy-wise on important issues. Having said that, there were a number of important issues that neither interview addressed. And I would never decide who to vote for just based on one interview. But it’s given me lots to mull over.

By the way, here are links to both interviews:

Justin Trudeau: http://en.daily.vice.com/page/vice-meets-justin-trudeau

Thomas Mulcair: http://en.daily.vice.com/page/vice-meets-tom-mulcair

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