Martin, Layton and Duceppe go after
Harper in debate
[PoliticsWatch Updated 11:15 a.m. January 10, 2006]
|Round 2 of the leaders' debates takes place
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jack Layton made his best effort yet in the campaign to convince voters tired of the Liberals, but concerned about the Conservatives to vote
NDP in Monday's English-language leaders debate.
And Prime Minister Paul Martin went on the offensive against Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
, but it may too soon to tell if he delivered any fatal blow.
Two things are clear from Monday evening's debate.
Harper's poll lead meant he received more attacks from Bloc and the
NDP than in the last series of debate.
And Martin's last card in this campaign, which all polls suggest he
is trailing badly, is to get Harper talking about the Charter of
Martin dropped a bomb in the early part of the debate when announced
for the first time ever that he planned to introduce legislation to
revoke the notwithstanding clause from the Constitution.
The PM later explained to reporters that the change would be
federal-only legislation and could be unilaterally by the federal
After the debate, all the other leaders found Martin's surprise
announcement odd and the most talking heads appearing on post-debate
shows questioned whether it was a desperation move or a campaign
Meanwhile, if Layton's job was to prevent a stampede of his
supporters and undecided voters to the Liberals, he definitely got
that message across.
"I ask you to join me in saying that enough is enough with Liberal arrogance and scandals and enough to the vote-buying promises of the
Conservatives," Layton said early in the debate, asking voters
to consider "a third option."
Layton's campaign has been gaffe-free, but has also been overshadowed by the Liberal meltdown and Harper's policy announcements. The party tends to receive headlines
only when Layton comments on his role as power broker in a minority Parliament.
But the NDP leader saw his polling numbers increase in the days after the first round of debates.
The French-language debate will air on cable news channels at 8 p.m. ET.
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