Elizabeth May felt like a schoolgirl when she glanced over at the powerful man sitting beside her and noticed he had broken the rules.
The Green party leader had fought hard to be included in the national televised debates during the campaign for last October's election, and remembers participants were told they would be provided with blank index cards for taking notes, but they were forbidden to bring their own background material.
"Stephen Harper's staff took care to print out background notes on index cards, but they picked the wrong-sized cards. And no one writes in printer font. Looking over from my seat, I remember the shock of realizing he was cheating," May writes in her new book. "I felt like I was back in grade school. Do you 'tattle' on a cheater? Now, all I can think is 'What were his staff thinking?' It is clear they thought he wouldn't be caught."
Why did he cheat? I don't know. Perhaps his handlers were worried that if he read up during a bathroom break they might never get him out of there.
But let me take you back to the debate outcomes. As always, Steve V is the go-to-guy for poll data: Debate Bounce?
I was really looking for the leadership scores. Let me just say, whoa! Dion's overall score up an incredible 130% from yesterday, a mere 8 points behind Harper (64 points yesterday), not to mention well ahead of Layton, who was double Dion in the previous sample. Now then, how about the French debate?: Lapierre: "Dion Won The Debate"
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Sifting through the spin, a poll of Quebecers post-debate feelings gives it to DION. Lapierre citing a Quebec television sampling of views, says that Dion won hands down, Harper was "asleep at the switch". I haven't heard Lapierre say a good thing about Dion since he took the leadership, if he was generally excited about his performance, the best he's been in front of the Quebec people, then its objectively noted.So Harper cheated and still floundered in the debates. I recommend that next time they call for a "stick measurement". It will be very interesting to see how the brain of the conservative movement does against an experienced debater and extemporaneous speaker.