Nobody is off the island. It sank.

You would think that by the time of the fifth debate in the federal Liberal Party leadership race, the party would get something right. They did not. Before we could declare the last unlucky candidate off the island, the party sank the Island of Montreal.

In an obviously unscripted and ill-considered argument during the debate between MP Joyce Murray and MP Justin Trudeau, you had to ask which one of these two people is a Liberal. The answer is not apparent. The argument was over Elizabeth May’s offer to both of them to not run a Green Party candidate in the Labrador by-election that has to be called to replace Conservative Peter Penashue. Trudeau treated the offer with derision that it did not deserve and Murray responded in obvious anger.

This was not pretty. Nor was it appropriate on either side. Justin Trudeau needed to soften his comments to explain his view. Even if he disagrees with Joyce Murray’s idea of unheld electoral district associations getting together with the local New Democrats to produce a single candidate, it hardly guarantees that Thomas Mulcair would become Prime Minister. That is the most singularly defeatist attitude we have heard in some time.

And there was no need for the MP from Vancouver-Quadra to fly off the handle. The other candidates have obviously been hard on her for her views on voting reform but she needs to lighten up. It was great in the beginning that we had a legitimate candidate willing to question the status quo on such issues. We expected that she would expand on the issues and be more open to input on them.

But she seems to believe the clap-trap spread by the Fair Vote Canada group and is spouting their opinion instead of treating it as just another possibility.

And we know that Justin Trudeau is more open to reform than he was letting on. Besides, there are only 34 other Liberal MPs in Parliament and we have to look after every one of them. You hardly start a fight over an issue of that sort.

All we could say at the end of the debate was “thank goodness.” The party might not be able to survive more debates where people spend 90 per cent of the time agreeing with each other for a bored audience and the other 10 per cent fighting over something that might have nothing to do with what they are ostensibly talking about.

And there is no point kicking anyone off the island, we all know who has won.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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