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Who won the Ontario leaders debate?

September 20, 2007 | 07:54 PM

It may well be the central event of this five-week campaign — a generally polite but otherwise no-holds-barred debate between the three main Ontario party leaders.

For 90-minutes, NDP Leader Howard Hampton, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty and Conservative Leader John Tory faced pre-taped questions from voters and then went after each other over health care, transit, energy, crime and schooling, among other subjects.

For the most part, the Liberal premier was the butt of the attacks, accused by his Conservative counterpart of "not being a strong leader." McGuinty was challenged for having broken some of his promises from the 2003 election, in particular for having raised taxes for health care. And for not doing enough for schools, hospitals or children with special needs, among other disadvantaged groups.

At some points he was reduced to acknowledging there is "more work to be done." But at other times he gave as good as he got, noting that unemployment and crime are down on his watch and that the economic numbers compare very favourably to those periods when the Conservatives and NDP were in power. He also noted his government was the first to measure hospital wait times because "your governments didn't have the guts."

So who won? The political pundits will have their say, why don't you?

Did this debate change your impression of any of the provincial party leaders? Who do you think did best in the debate?

« Should OHIP cover surgery in private clinics? | Main | Is Ontario falling behind the other provinces? »

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Comments: (108)

Alina (Toronto_Ontario) wrote:

Tory has my vote because he is commited to change the legal system not to allow criminals on bail so they can commit more crimes. With kids being shot at schools, crime is the most pressing issue in Ontario and I believe that Tory is more determined to fix it than McGuinty.

Posted September 26, 2007 10:56 PM

Wayne Smith (In_Your_Extended_Netwrok) wrote:

There were a lot of great answers here folks.
Very cool to read me. Ron above has some good input. I think Ron touched on the heart of the matter. While many of you are correct and yes the P.C's left a mess a while back I think we have to go back to values. Don't forget that
McGuinty is a lawyer. He knows what to say. Like a used car salesman he can convince folks the sky is Green when it is not the case. Where have the values gone? What we should teach our children in school? Like the boy who cried wolf? Your word is your word. If you cannot believe your boss then who can you believe? More than one is a major problem.

It like in your daily jobs or school if someone does that they would most likely give the position to the other party even if we don't like them because they earned it. Too many broken promises cries out "disqualification qualification".. That's not doing your job. Sure sometimes you have to do something that is not popular with the voters but when these broken promises stack up like traffic tickets it's time to lay down the law. John Torrie is new but would have made one great mayor. He reminds me of Donald Trump. He appears to be a wise business man..

Who won the debate. Howard did. I agree and yes the D.M did always seems to blame someone else. The pay raise they gave them selves said it all folks. I like the Liberals but everyone gets a turn in a fair Country such as this great Country. I think in time Howard will improve and maybe one day he will make us all proud. But for now until I get a solid explanation and list of broken p promises and why each was broken I think John Torrie makes the grade like no one else.

Posted September 24, 2007 08:35 PM

Erica Aitchison (Shelburne) wrote:

I watched the election as homework in my Grade 10 Civics class. I felt that Dalton lost the debate considering he broke his promises and lost the trust in a lot of Ontatians.

Tory was being very degrating towards Dalton and I don't believe it was nessesary to argue with him. This debate was to tell the public what they were going to do if they became leader. It wasn't a fight between Dalton and Tory (but it was)!!! Howard on the other hand stayed focused on the issues and I think he would be a great leader for Ontario.

Posted September 24, 2007 05:57 PM

Thomas Grains (Hamilton) wrote:

I have never seen anyone perform so poorly in a debate as Mr. McGuinty did.

He was asked to answer question about his own parties platform from 2003 and he couldn't do it. The voters elected him and he broke his word, that's fine all folks in politics do it (although not as often as Mr. McGuinty did) but can you at least give me a reasoning why?

What a total disconnect with his soft support voters.

All I needed to hear was why, and now all I am hearing is Harris did this, and Rae did that, or I am hearing promises that span into 2020 when McGuinty would be in his entering his fifth term as Premier.

I don't care about back then, and I really couldn't care about promises that kick in when I am in my 40's what about right now? What about for the next four years?

At least Howie and John Tory were able to commit to me the voter for the near future and for today, Mr. McGuinty seemed lost and hoping for the other parties to make mistakes to get him elected rather then doing anything to benefit me.

I made the Liberal mistake in 2003, my vote is going elsewhere in 2007.

Posted September 24, 2007 05:24 PM

Jack (Waterloo) wrote:

JD Graham,

11% of Ontario Voters?

Try 2.5% of Ontario Voters in 2003, and > 1% in 1999.

The latest polls are showing the Greens hovering around the 6% mark in Ontario, but with that in mind it also showed the Federal Greens in the 8 -10% range in the Quebec Bi-Elections where they ended up with less then 4%.

Unless Green Party support shows up at the ballot boxes and not simply on phone polls they have Zero place in the debate.

Even if they can crack 5% Provincially in this coming election there can be an argument for them next time, but I suspect that most Ontario voters who have opted for Green support in a phone poll will go elsewhere on election day, as has been the case in nearly every Provincial By-Election in Ontario and again reflected in recent federal by-elections.

Posted September 24, 2007 05:14 PM

JD Graham (Stratford) wrote:

For me, the debate was important for 2 reasons: first, the way Dalton continues to blame anyone and everyone for his breaking of over 50% of his promises and blatant assualt on the wallets of the middle class to fund hip replacements for the elderly. Yet, there is no proof that any improvement has actually taken place in health care in Ontario.

Second, the blatant disregard for democracy by the networks. How dare they ignore 11+% of the population of this province and exclude the Greens. I for one think this smells of manipulation by the media to try to control voters opinions. So, I think we should NOT vote Fiberal and we should demand an inquest into the networks attempts to manipulate and control an election.

Posted September 24, 2007 09:54 AM

Donna Sawyer (Brockville) wrote:

McGuinty clearly "lost" the debate but how many people actually watched it.

We are taxed to death & his health tax sealed his fate. If we could see any improvement in the health system, we wouldn't be so angry.

How many ordinary Joes out there are finding shorter wait times or easier access to family doctors? None that I know of.

As for the referendum - most people don't even understand the question! Personally, I like the idea of 2 votes BUT I don't like having a bunch of unelected cronies running the province.

Posted September 24, 2007 06:51 AM

Beth Dasno (Sioux_Lookout_ON) wrote:

Can somebody please explain to me why Frank de Jong, the provicial Green Party candidate was not included in the electoral debate? I view this disclusion as a shameful act on the part of CBC.

Posted September 24, 2007 12:01 AM

Bev Stefureak (ThunderBayOntario) wrote:

The debate did not change my impresson of any of the leaders. Mr. McGuinty did not come out sounding like a strong leader, but in my view he never has.

Howard Hampton did the best in the forty minutes of the debate that I was able to listen to.

Ontario should fund private medical clinics. In fact, it is my understanding they already do. Shouldice Clinic in Toronto has been operating for years, is a private medical hospital/clinic and has its fees paid by OHIP. It is efficient, has short wait times and provides excellent professional services with very good followup.

Posted September 23, 2007 10:37 PM

patmac (Toronto) wrote:

uncommitted voter who will vote GREEN; former Tory but disillusioned by Tory's school inclusuve policy,but otherwise would have voted blue.McGuinty is NOT trustworthy,Hampton is sweet,on the right track in many areas BUT not practical...SO for FIRST time i go GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted September 23, 2007 07:08 PM

James Murray (Ottawa) wrote:

I think Dalton McGuinty won the debate. John Tory spent too much time talking about McGuinty. His plan would put Ontario in a deficit. How can he reduce our taxes and provide us with more services? Howard Hampton, along with Tory were talking negative about ontario. McGuinty was positive and thats what i want from a leader.

Posted September 23, 2007 06:55 PM

Denise (waterloo) wrote:

I believe that Mr. Tory was the clear winner and if the people of Ontario would let him - he has some excellent ideas about the health care system.

I do not understand the concern about public pay for private clinics - that is how we currently pay our physicians in this province. It is how the home care system is run - contracting out of services to those who can provide quality outcomes in a cost effective manner.

we can throw as much money at the health care system but what we really need is accountability for this health care spending. I for one do not see a great deal of difference between extremely high paid hospital executives and private clinics - perhaps the only difference is that the public hospitals have long term job security that does not depend on outcomes and the private clinics (paid for with public dollars) are subject to rigorous outcomes or their contracts are not renewed.

I notice that Dalton did not say that the waiting list for "other surgeries and services" have gone up only listed the specific ones that had gone down. ditto with the classroom sizes above grade 3.

Posted September 23, 2007 03:17 PM

Marilyn Hewitt (Nepean_ON) wrote:

I would hope that Ontario does not elect a Conservative government.

My son attneded school during the harris years. He and many other young men his age, in our neighbourhood and no doubt throughout Ontario, are still affected by those years.

No matter how hard we worked, the system failed our children.

Posted September 23, 2007 03:02 PM

DERON (Cambridge) wrote:

What made me sick was the way they would avoid answering questions by using up half the alotted time thanking and praising the person for asking it - then blaming others for the problem. What a farce. Politics have become a joke in this country. I've voted in every election at every level since 1978, yet I don't think it's worth voting even to throw people out anymore. What we need to do is throw out every single incumbent regardless of party. If, just once, we through out every single incumbent in an election, it would change the face of politics right across this country forever. They all suck!

Posted September 23, 2007 11:49 AM

Diane Scherer (Ontario) wrote:

Dalton McGuinty has broken all of his promises as he said he created all these jobs in the past year but infact had a significant number of job loses for ontario. He has done nothing for northern ontario when there were diamond mines wanting to open areas but he was going imposes hight costs to those companies and instead they went to western canada to open mines! He has done nothing for the average ontario resident except in his own backyard and it is time to get rid of him and get someon else in that will do something for ontario.

Posted September 23, 2007 11:02 AM

Roger Harrison (Northwest_Ontario_Kenora_Area) wrote:

The health care in Northwestern Ontario is of a third world country with waiting in the Emergeny ward up tp 10-12 hours, in this day and age we should have the very best Doctors and equipment avaialbe to us in this area, and further more we have to travel to Winnipeg or Thunder Bay to have any seriors or any complicated operation do you really think this is right way to treat the people in this area.

Posted September 23, 2007 09:13 AM

Brett Blaikie (Stettler_Alberta) wrote:

I didn't watch the debate, but from the comments I read here, looks like a good chance Ontario will have a minority government - which might be the best option; none of these candidates is terribly impressive.

Posted September 23, 2007 03:06 AM

Pierre M. Laberge (Sudbury) wrote:

There was no real winner.

Tory did a good attack job, but is that all what you want in a leader?

Hamptom did a good job of reiterating his unrealistic party line, but again, would you want him as a leader?

Dalton did a good job of defending himself, but clearly, the record shows that when he was elected, the man was out of his depth. He's come a long way on 4 years, but still needs to lose his smirk. He appears to be the best of a very bad lot... And that says little positive for him. At least, he is the devil we know...

If you are going to vote, vote based on your local candidates, because whichever party forms the government, the local yokel is they guy/gal you will have to bear with, for roughly the next 4 years.... Think of that!

The alternate Mixed Member System is an interesting concept, but the one proposed for Ontario has so many holes and flaws in it, that one wonders just WHO thought it up, and why...

Let us, for now, keep our current system, at least until a a realistic alternative is presented.

I, for one, do not want fewer ridings which can be held responsible and accountable, along with some 40 more spendthrifts at the Queens Park feeding trough....

Posted September 22, 2007 10:27 PM

Alex (Toronto) wrote:

I believe John Tory won the debate. The other two leaders did not address the simple case of open discrimination in the province of Ontario. The only jurisdiction in North America where one faith is fully funded to the exclusion of all others. It is definetely not a popular stand, but it takes a real leader to do what is right and not what is popular...
The debate did not change my mind, I will still vote for Tory.

Posted September 22, 2007 10:09 PM

Lori (Barrie) wrote:

McGuinty answered no questions directly but proved that a smooth talker will probably once again pull the wool over the eyes of most Ontarians. While some protest that the Conservatives did so much previous damage, we could continue to go back in time and lay blame at some political party's door. The point of this election is: did this current government do what it said it was going to do, and if not, at least do something good?And, do they deserve to get another turn? In this case I believe NO is obvious to those eluding the wool.

Two points of this election are key: health care and education. While we have much to be proud of with our health care system, I believe that we can be naive to think that things will improve under the existing system. Why are people so afraid of some private clinics that will probably service and benefit a loved one?

They would save people the stress of long waits in public clinics and allow for quicker care across the board. OHIP would still cover this. The question should be asked is why could private clinics make it on OHIP reimbersement, when hospitals are struggling? That opens up the pandoras box of mis-management of tax-payers money, the gross amount of hosptial overhead that drags the system down, along with so many other issues. Just as Faith Based school provide equivelent, if not superior, education at a lower cost per pupil than that of the public schools, so could private clinics. And they would be able to provide the relief that the Heath Care system so badly needs...And since I mentioned the Faith Based school issue... What would McGuinty do if those 53,000 kids were put back into the public school system? How in the world would they find the room for them? What is happening to the per pupil cost allocated to those 53,000 kids? Hmmm... maybe the families of those 53,000 kids are actually subsidizing the public school system. How fair is that. Ever think of that Dalton? I think not.

Posted September 22, 2007 08:23 PM

Elvis (Memphis) wrote:

Dalton was nothin but a hound dog and all the people can say is don't cruel.
John Tory is a teddy bear but you voters were always on his mind.
The NDP would be helpful to people who live in the ghetto.
In all seriousness John Tory won and will be the new Premier, thank you, thank you very much.

Posted September 22, 2007 07:45 PM

Phillip Blancher (Eastern_Ontario) wrote:

I watched the debate and thought it was fun to see McGuinty assailed on both sides. It's simple, McGuinty said in 2003 "I will not cut your taxes, but I wont raise them either." And then he did. He has spent the last four years blaming the Conservatives for the crapfest he was left with instead of actually trying to fix it. Answer me this, for four years, McGuinty has been talking about this investment in public education. For the last four years I have been trying to get assistance with my child who has ADHD in the classroom. After four years getting nowhere, I switched my child to the Catholic Board, three weeks in, and the ball is rolling to get help. Now you tell me about the investment in education when the Catholic board in my area gets $120/student less than the Public Board but there are more programs in the Catholic Board. Where is the mismanagement? Lies and Mismanagement is what McGuinty's legacy is and will be. I am not voting Liberal, even though the local Liberal Candidate is a really good guy.

Posted September 22, 2007 05:44 PM

flora danziger (toronto) wrote:

By opening more private clinics is likely to encourage a larger number of doctors to leave public hospitals and family practice facilities, thus increasin th e number of medical practitioners in public settings.

Private clinics are also less likely to be supervised in the safety of their procedures.

Only this morning there was a report of a woman who died while receiving liposuction in a private less supervised situation.

Posted September 22, 2007 03:23 PM

Linda (Vancouver) wrote:

Charlene Smith is right to say that poverty is a huge issue.But I believe all of the leaders,and all of their parties also know this.Unlike Charlene,I don't believe there is any serious disagreement among them about whether or not this issue needs to be dealt with.

I think they,like a lot of other people,have differing views on what policies will best improve peoples lives.

In general,some people think we should run around shoveling money off of a truck so the poor can pick it up.Others think that a climate that makes more jobs available will do better.And still more will think that lower taxes might be the way to go.

Every issue they discussed has an impact on poverty.And for the good intentions of every policy,there are usually "unintended consequences".

If you raise taxes,the government has more money to support poor people.But,at the same time,the taxes create more poor people.

Currently,a lot of people suggest we need to increase taxes on tobacco so fewer people will smoke.And increase taxes on energy so we can reduce green hose gasses.Perfectly admirable objectives.I'm sure most people can agree to that.

But if you are a child of parents who either can not,or will not stop smoking,you are probably already eating a lot more pasta and less quality food because your family pays several hundred dollars more in taxes every month.The same would apply if you have no choices in transportation,or heating your home.Lower income families,or families with smokers will have disadvantaged children.I doubt it will be of any comfort to them to know the "intent" of the taxes was good.

Almost every issue on the parliamentary table has to do with poverty.In one way or another.

Posted September 22, 2007 02:38 PM

Kitty Hundal (Toronto_Ontario) wrote:

IMHO John Tory!

Go Tory! An impressive exposure of the Liberals poor record over the last four years.

To my great regret, I voted Liberal in the last election, and am considering voting Conservative this time around.

Maybe we can get a Health Minister who is less obsessed about eliminating smoking from the face of the earth, and more obsessed with actually solving the major and very serious Health Care issues faced by the Province of Ontario, an Attorney General who actually cares about eliminating crime and corruption, some honest, serious leadership to solve the major issues affecting transit in the GTA and surrounding areas, and some honest, serious leadership to solve the border security issues.

The Liberals have been too busy handing out favors, positions, and money, like candy to their friends to actually provide any leadership on, or actually resolve any of these problems.

Posted September 22, 2007 12:13 PM

Ed Kotyk (Thunder_Bay) wrote:

If you look at the debate intellegently you have to also look at things reasonably, in that you must accept that in only four short years you simply cannot turn around the disgraceful mess left by the Conservatives. John Tory was one of Mike Harris's top advisors and should be made to share alot of the blame for the terrible mess left to the Liberals.

To look at the artifical question of leadership and who looked better, totally avoids the issue of what that party will impose on the electorate. If that is the only issue that one uses to decide on who to vote for, STAY HOME, your vote in uninformed and not worthy of the right to vote.

Posted September 22, 2007 11:36 AM

John Sankey (Ottawa) wrote:

What struck me is the amount of time spent in the debate on health care and the shortage of family doctors, yet none made the only possible concrete solution - increase their pay.

I have a niece who is a family doctor. After a decade of practice, she is struggling to pay for a home. Meanwhile her many classmates who moved to the US now own homes she can only dream of.

Family doctors are the shock troops of our health care. We need to close the gap between their pay and those of specialists who face only a tiny fraction of the responsibilities of our family doctors.

Posted September 22, 2007 11:34 AM

Roger B Williams (Hullsdale_Ont) wrote:

After the debate ended, all I could think of was Negative John and Ten Buck Howard. Dalton McGuinty held up admirably with the whinining and carping from the other two. Dalton was the only one to try to get across, in a positive vein, where his government wants to take the province.

Posted September 22, 2007 10:48 AM

Jim H (Kitchener_Ontario) wrote:

If the issue of faith-based schools is central to this election, the Conservatives are dooming themselves by their inability to defend their position.

They don't bring up the UN' reprimand of the promise, they don't point out that all other provinces support faith based schools, and they don't have a savvy strategy for implementation of funding of these schools.

The issue will probably be a Tory-killer not because it's a bad idea but because he doesn't seem to have a clear idea why it isn't.

Posted September 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Michael Esch (Markham) wrote:

Of the three choices in the televised debate, I felt that Howard Hampton came off the most sincere, articulate and poised. McGuinty strikes me as a decent sort, but doesn't appear to boast a savy political judgement generally. His 'broken promises' of the last campaign mean that his present promises hold virtually no weight with the voting public. John Tory on the other hand brings very little substance to his issues - indeed we need more in a leader than just whining and finger pointing. And for the Question Period junkies among us, Tory represents very little change from the Common Sense Revolution - most of his shadow cabinet belonged to the Mike Harris heirarchy. So, let's give the NDP a strong presence this time round to counterbalance either the character flaws of the liberals, or the 'selling their shirt to keep their word' conservatives.......

Posted September 22, 2007 06:48 AM

Steven (Toronto) wrote:

Who cares who "won" a debate? Debating is a skill of language, not ideas, and governing is about more than how well you can linguistically dance around giving answers while looking like you are.

As a longtime Liberal, I was embarassed to watch McGuinty try to justify his hypocrisy and discrimination on the equal school funding issue.

If the roles were reversed and it were the Tories trying to deny funding to all but a select group of Christians, we'd all be outraged, and rightfully so, but everyone has a convenient excuse for why things are different when they do it, and I'm ashamed to see McGuinty peddling discrimination against minorities on my behalf.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:35 PM

Jean Laviolette (Etobicoke) wrote:

If John Tory is a real leader, why is he giving in to religious extreme groups concerning religious school? We love our public schools, we just need funding for week-end religious schools.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:33 PM

Bob (Ontario) wrote:

McGuinty spent his time *still* blaming the previous governments...at what point does he actually take responsibility for anything? He didn't explain why we have a $2 billion surplus, yet I still have that health tax.

I wasnt sold on Tory's faith based schools policy, and Hampton sounded like every other NDP candidate, though much better than Jack Layton for sure. Not crazy about Tory, but McGuinty lied several times and I will no longer tolerate it, so likely will go for Tory.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:27 PM

Perry (cambridge) wrote:

After watching all three party leader's . I think Mr McGuinty did pretty well comparing to the other two.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:49 PM

Eric Lau (Markham) wrote:

Excuse me? John Tory has a plan? Sounds like a plan of bashing McGuinty over and over again.

So far I have not heard anything interesting from John Tory that would peak my interest in voting for him. All I recall is his idea to fund faith-based schools, private health policy and how McGuinty has failed in fixing Ontario.

John Tory, your party failed to run Ontario for 8 years straight and left Ontario in a 5.6 billion deficit, how can we trust your party to set things correctly again? The Conservative Party's policies are NOT for Ontario. We've seen them in action and they degraded the quality of life in Ontario overall.

Hampton as usual, being his energetic self, has been usually very good debator during the campaign. He is poised to gain something from this election indefinitely unlike the last election where he failed miserably despite claims of 20% of the popular vote.

McGuinty, though to some may seem weak in this debate, atleast fended off an onslaught and showed he isn't giving up. He made an unpopular choice with the health premnium but in retrospect it was a hardchoice to make to improve our health care system. Granted that it might've been possible for a better performance over the past 4 years but asking ourselves, did the Liberals really screw up that badly? We're no longer in the red ink during budget season and we're fixing the damage that the previous Conservative government made.

At least McGuinty isn't trying to hide his mistakes and openly admits them. That takes character to admit that a government did something that is questionable. With the finances in order, we should be able to expect continuing improvement for the next 4 years heading into the right direction.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:41 PM

Brock McKay (Ottawa) wrote:

Okay, let's get this straight. First off, I believe John Tory and Howard Hampton gave very strong performances. Second, the majority of the tuned in population was aware that McGuinty was not a good debator, that much was expected.

This being said, McGuinty went beyond just proving the expectation that he was an unskilled debator, but repeatedly and, I'm certain, unintentionally admitted fault for promises broken in 2003. Whilst throwing the blame around is a normal tactic for an incumbent premier, he did it excessively. Now, I say excessively because he's facing neither Mike Harris or Bob Rae, so consistently pivoting back to their records is a moronic mistake in of itself.

The second mistake McGuinty made was largely making his policy "we're making progress". For those that accuse Tory of being ambiguous on the next 4 years, I hardly doubt McGuinty constantly sputtering "blame Harris/Rae" and "we're making progress" is hardly any less ambiguous.

Hell, I'll throw in a third mistake, and that is the emphasis on statistics. McGuinty loves to throw around statistics to try to prove a point. The problem with this is that public perception is everything, and if statistcs don't reflect what a voter is perceiving, he'll perceive you as either out of touch or outright lying.

Did Dalton McGuinty win the debate? No, he made every mistake short of calling his opponents alien reptilian kitten eaters from outer space, or falling down into a fetal ball and screaming "it's unfair! it's unfair!" At least Hampton and Tory made the effort to look at the camera with some confidence and perception of sincerity.

Posted September 21, 2007 09:31 PM

Wes Boucher (Bradford) wrote:

Th winner of the debate and the election - simple - the liberals.

Say NO to faith based school funding.

Posted September 21, 2007 09:19 PM

Nancy Giovinazzo (welland) wrote:

I was almost ready to vote PC this year. However after watching the debate last night I will continue to support McGuinty and the Liberals. As a health care worker I remember the cut backs and mess the PC party created.

As an MRI technologist I have seen an absolute improvement of wait times in our MRI departments and and increase in the number of MRI scanners in our province.

As a "leader" in health care I know that it is often difficult to go into a situation thinking everything is ok and need to clear up others "messes." He has started to make the corrections needed and we all know that policies take time to implement especially when you are being combatted every step of the way. Now that he has started to correct many issues---lets give him the time to finish the job.

No one of course wants broken promises but none of the other parties have shown us a history of less broken promises. As well I am still upset about the 40% pay increases! No one in Canada could possibly agree with that-- especially as the public sector strugles everyday with minimal pay increases and constant tax and utility increases. I work as hard as my American conterparts--and my pay is nowhere close to what they make for the same job! I still would not vote to match their salaries (if I could). We need to remember we choose our professions because of our dedication to our professions-- and hopefully not just the $$$$$$$.

Posted September 21, 2007 09:17 PM

J Xie (MarkhamON) wrote:

Mr. McGuinty won, no doubt about it.

Posted September 21, 2007 08:38 PM

RJ (Hamilton) wrote:

McGuinty won the debate. He admitted his faults, expressed what good has been done over the past four years, and what the plan is for the next four years. I was impressed.

All the other two did was attack McGuinty while not presenting their own plans. I don't understand how anyone can say the ultra-scripted Tory won the debate when all he did was attack without adding anything useful of his own.

Posted September 21, 2007 07:48 PM

Shawn Vandevenne (Brantford_Ontario_) wrote:

I think Tory spent too much time critisizing McGuinty's record and less time discussing his priorities if he becomes the next premier.

Dalton has come a long way over the past 4 years, and he is the only one of the three leaders I trust. As for Hampton, I believe his policies will mirror that of Bob Rae's, dragging Ontario's defecit much higher. So on October 10th, I intend to vote Liberal.

Posted September 21, 2007 07:02 PM

David (London) wrote:

It's clear that John Tory won the debate last night, because he came across as the most competent, confident leader who will clean up the mess which the Liberals are leaving us in.

Dalton McGuinty still believes that he is fixing the education problem. If it's fixed, then why are students still learning in crumbling buildings, portables, and class sizes reaching astronomical portions. I think Dalton had his chance (he blew it) with all his promises in the last 2003 campaign. John Tory did very well, followed by Howard Hampton. Unfortunately for Mr. McGuinty, he kept looking down at the camera which tells me that he was running away from his record. Not an impressive record one would think!!

Posted September 21, 2007 06:46 PM

John Wilson (Toronto) wrote:

Hi I thought that there was a ganging up on McGuinty without offering solutions. I don't even vote for his party but I have to admit that I have felt far more comfortable with the apparent stability of our marvellous province than the previous tumultuous years of Harris.

Posted September 21, 2007 06:11 PM

Linda (Vancouver) wrote:

Your politicians are just like every one else's.I love the way they play fast and loose with statistics.I mean.they don't actually lie,but make them sound like the story they want to tell.

I was especially taken by Mr.McGuinty's references to employment,and how much lower unemployment rates are now than they were in some previous administration.I expect that is true,but hell-oooo Dalton. They are lower everywhere. Almost everyone with a pulse has a job these days.

Or,"are we better off than we were four years ago"? D-uh!! Everyone in the country is at least a little better off because of a higher dollar and the fact that more people are working.

Growth in Canada has been good.If you're not getting at least a little of it,fire your administration.

Posted September 21, 2007 06:10 PM

barry (mississauga) wrote:

Dalton McGuinty clearly won the debate. John Tory looked like a shrewd politician (with an unclear agenda), and Howard Hampton reminded me a little of Beaver Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver."

McGuinty looked like he was in control. He did not get shaken by continual attacks from his opponents, and answered back in a calm and clear manner. He was smart enough to remind us of the records left behind by the former Conservative and NDP governments.

I did not think much of McGuinty in the previous election, and I still thought of him as an awkward person who lacked the charisma of a Pierre Trudeau, or Brian Mulroney. But, I was impressed with yesterdays debate, and have changed my mind about him. To me he looked like leader who was in control, especially in comparison to the other two candidates.

Posted September 21, 2007 05:55 PM

josh (toronto) wrote:

Dear David,

Part of the appeal of MMP is that it would allow a sorely needed green voice to enter the discussion that is democracy. If we are talking about true representation here, then surely you can understand why a genuine green perspective is needed.

It is precisely our archaic first-past-the-post system that causes people like my mother to vote against a party she can't stand rather than vote with what she truly believes in. So quoting low support for the Greens is rather misleading. It has been shown in the recent past that the majority of Canadians want to see Frank de Jong, at the very least, take his rightful position in any televised debate.

Lastly, given your opinion of the Greens, I think you will be undoubtedly surprised by the Ontario Green's platform. Rather than the singular focus on environment, the Greens have a rather attractive multi-dimensional approach to our economy, health care, social issues, energy, democracy and more. It stands apart from the other parties in taking a more fundamental, long-term approach to tackling Ontario's issues.

Posted September 21, 2007 05:37 PM

John Z (Kitchener) wrote:

McGuinty won the debate. Tory was way too negative. Obviously, you can't do everything in 4 years. How does Tory expect to CUT taxes, and IMPROVE services. It's impossible.

Posted September 21, 2007 05:32 PM

Daniel Holland (Barrie) wrote:

I am so tired of the "Green Party" rhetoric.

Do you realize the parties in Ontario that have scored more popular support in a Provincial election then the Green's did in 2003?

The Green platform while interesting is thin and lacking in other areas aside from taxation and environment, and if you want to interest me or the other 98% of voters who did not vote Green last time address ALL the issues fully not the ones you like.

“Mixed Member” Proportional Representation will serve as NOTHING more then reward the ruling party with more seats and providing for unaccountable MPP's who have NO constitutes to report to, they are generally able to do as they please without having to report back to anyone.

What a terrible idea that will simply reward a Party where an MPP that won his riding with 75% of the popular vote TWICE by giving them a second seat.

Posted September 21, 2007 05:20 PM

Ray Shier (Limehouse) wrote:

I found it very difficult to focus on the debate because of the tactics of the debaters. There were interruptions and up to three people were speaking at once.Camera operators shifted from speakers to snipers.I thought that during debates speakers make their statement before rebuttals begin.I turned off the TV and I'll read the newspapers to get my information.

Posted September 21, 2007 05:03 PM

Peter (London_Ontario) wrote:

The very question shows what's wrong with our democratic system and our media. I don't care who "won" the debate. (The Green Party wasn't allowed to participate, so maybe they won.) Winning has mistakenly become more important than what they claim to be fighting for. The issues just provide an excuse for the fight for power. Why not just dispense with the charade of election campaigns and determine our ruler by cage-matches?

You can win a debates and elections by just looking stronger and more confident than the others. Appearance has become what decides elections, not substance. An industry has sprung up to market politicians like consumer products, except we aren’t deciding between soaps or colas.

The “winner” will be able to do whatever they want to this province for the next 4-5 years. It doesn’t matter what they promised to do, promised not to do, or whether the issue was even brought up. Once they win a Majority, they have absolute power. Their only fear is that the public will remember what they did and punish them next time. In an age of cultural amnesia, that's an increasingly unlikely prospect.

Every election, I become more convinced that some form of Proportional Representation is required. If Parties win seats according to the percentage of votes, Majorities will be rare. Minority government forces Parties to cooperate and compromise. Because the power the “winner” wins will no longer be absolute, every vote could be their last. That means no more ramming unpopular legislation down our throats because 35-40% of people voted for their package in the last election. Every bill will pass or fail on its own merit, which is how it should be.

Luckily enough, we have a chance to vote for “Mixed Member” Proportional Representation in a ballot referendum this election. I strongly encourage everyone to vote for it.

Posted September 21, 2007 04:51 PM

Ronald Wilson (WestmeathON) wrote:

Like most Ontarians I have usually voted PC. Last nights debate made me realize that both McGuinty and Tory are tainted by the past performance of their parties.

I cannot forget the sordid recent history of the Tories, Walkerton, scandals and for straying from the principle of the separation of Church and State. I refer to the full funding of the Roman Catholic School system thus creating the current debate over extending funding to other faith based schools. Any move to funding beyond a true public system is a betrayal of the principle and our history! Mr. McGuinty talks public but means a dual Catholic/Public system.

Both the PCs and the Liberals have being long on promises and short on delivery. It seems like decades since we have had real leadership in this province. I almost choked when McGuinty brought up a handgun ban as a plank in his platform. That is one plank better not pursued because the uselessness of it has been exposed. It says reams about a politician that relies on scare mongering and propaganda to garner urban votes.

No one mentioned the referendum on choosing proportional representation for Ontario. Last night showed that a change in electing members is long overdue.

Final decision, Mr. Hampton of the NDP the winner both for what he said and the way he handled himself.

Posted September 21, 2007 04:49 PM

josh (toronto) wrote:

I would have to say that, based on his own responses to the debate questions available at gpo.ca, the Green Party's Frank de Jong was the clear winner, with a progressive vision addressing the economy, the environment, health and energy.

It's a shame more Ontario voters haven't been able to hear the most genuine candidate in this race. Let Frank in!

Posted September 21, 2007 04:49 PM

Andrew (Oshawa) wrote:

Tory, without a doubt, won the debate.... But what does this mean. He avoided the issue about faith-based schools but presented a strong argument for Nuclear.

Hampton's responses seemed to hinge too much on political history rather than discuss how the NDP would do any better.

McGuinty's term has been relatively uneventful and small improvement on previous Premiers. Unfortunately he lied to the public the whole way through.

So, who you vote for is the ultimate question. I remain undecided but tend to sway to the green party since they will not likely get enough votes to do any harm.

Posted September 21, 2007 02:27 PM

Sam Lee (Peterbough_ON) wrote:

The debate went to John Tory however Howard Hampton came in second place and Dalton didn't seem to place in the debate.

Posted September 21, 2007 01:13 PM

David (BrantfordOntario) wrote:

It's too bad these debates can't focus more on actual policy and vision instead of just spreading the blame for mistakes from the past and trying to get in a fabled "knock out punch". The whole debate seemed to be Hampton and Tory telling McGuinty he didn't get the job done (we all know this already), and McGuinty deflecting their questions with bringng up mistakes made by the Tories and NDP in the past.

I'm not sure I even heard any real policy in the debate aside from vague commments on education funding inequality from Tory, and denial the problem even exists from McGunity and Hampton.

Suprisingly absent was any question on the upcoming referendum, which is a more important decision Ontario is making than the election itself considering the long term implications a vote either way will have.

If anything I would say that no one won, and the people of Ontario lost in the debate with little policy or vision given by the leaders, and a complete lack of representation from the Green Party and other small parties because of corporate decision making.

Posted September 21, 2007 01:06 PM

Sarah Harmon (Barrie) wrote:

For a man who has been in power for four years I heard a lot of excuses for the last four years and very little vision for the next four.

As an undecided I was hoping for at least some clarity explaining why some of the promises were broken, but was shocked to learn that McGuinty knew of the deficit before making the promises not to tax us any further.

I did not hear that at all, I just saw a man who refused to stand up and take responsibility for his actions and arrogantly demanded me to give him another four years.

I am leery of the Conservatives, but in 1995 I was promised a reduction in taxes and I got it which really has me torn.

Howard Hampton was the only one who seemed to get across vision and really seemed to make a connection with the average voter in Ontario.

Perhaps NDP this time?

Posted September 21, 2007 12:41 PM

Shaun (Toronto) wrote:

Mr. Tory took the evening, but not by storm. Once again, Mr. Hampton showed us what we have come to expect: humble honesty and a clear understanding of the province's social issues (he should be the leader of the federal party).

Mr. McGuinty, on the other hand, made more excuses while making it clear that Ontarians can expect the continuation of the Health Tax, and a barrage of other levies/tax increases from him in future.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:34 PM

Grant (Bruce_County) wrote:

I was totally underwhelmed by the Premier. He looked like a third rank opposition leader, not someone who has lead the province for 4 years.

I don't know how I will vote yet, (leaning NDP after last night) but thanks to his constant blaming of others for his failures I do know who I won't vote for and that is Dalton McGuinty.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:33 PM

Paul Grenville (Mississauga) wrote:

While I can at least appreciate that Mr. McGuinty at least apologized about the taxation promise, what about the rest of them?

And why did he not answer the question posed by both Mr. Hampton and Mr. Tory about why these Health care taxes were not repealed once we have over a two billion dollar surplus?

That is OUR money, and if we were overtaxed why are we not getting some of it back? When the Federal Government assured Ontario would have more money why did we not get any back??

We are not in a fiscal crunch anymore why am I being taxed as though we are? That was not answered by Mr. McGuinty and that annoys me.

I think Howard Hampton won the debate, while I feel that John Tory showed that head to head he was clearly the better option between the himself and Mr. McGuinty.

I was on the fence, now I am fairly certain Mr. Tory has my vote.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:29 PM

David (Niagara_Falls) wrote:

I don't think anyone was a 'clear' winner in the debate, there were no knockout punches delivered.

From body-language, there's now way I would trust Dalton McGuinty in ANY office. The other two leaders looked about on a par.

Dalton McGuinty campaigned last time (in part) on the government running a deficit ... he made reference to that several times in the legistlature .. THEN he signs his "no new tax" pledge, and then (what a surprise) there's a deficit so he can't keep his promise ..... oh please !!

My biggest problem with most of these guys is that they promise things before they bother to find out if it's even possible. There was NO WAY that Nanticoke could close by 2007, it was simply not possible to replace that much power in that time. It's even doubtful it can be done (fully) by 2114 (do some research Greens{2009} and NDP{2011}). John Tory is closest to reality.

My other big problem is the flurry of spending announcements made just prior to the election proper. Mr. McGuinty ... my vote is NOT FOR SALE

Posted September 21, 2007 12:25 PM

Charles (Ottawa) wrote:

When I watched the debate, I was looking to see which candidate portrayed himself as a leader. Firstly, I noticed that Dalton McGuinty was the only candidate who thanked the viewers for tuning in and thanked his fellow candidates for a lively debate. As much as this may seem minor, that showed leadership.

Dalton McGuinty defended his own record; while at the same time, went on the offensive by explaining the records of the PC and NDP party.

The key to any debate is to get your message across, while at the same time, telling listeners why the message of your opponents is incorrect. Dalton McGuinty did exaclty that.

Howard Hampton looked unprepared and did not effectively outline his plans for ontario.

John Tory on the other hand, who is runnin on the slogan 'leadership matters' failed to show leadership.

For most of the debate, he reminded Ontarians about problems without offering well grounded solutions. Other than his idea to fund religious schools, he used many anecdotes to site problem, after problem, after problem.

Leaders give hope, express progress made, and offer up solutions for what more must be done. Dalton McGuinty did exactly that. He despite the barrage of attacks, took the high road, showed leadership, and in my mind out-performed his fellow debaters.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:22 PM

Devin (Woodlawn_Ontario) wrote:

I'm sure each of us has our own story, either good or bad, about personal experiences with health care under the McGuinty government. However, I don't think there is anyone with a 'good' story about health care from the previous Conservative government.

Sometimes parties need a 'time out' from power. That was certainly true of the Federal Liberals, and that's certainly true of the Ontario Conservatives. From what little substance Tory was giving between his attacks on McGuinty, they still need a time-out. Funding for faith-based schools? McGuinty and Hampton both made good points about where the money comes from and what determines if a faith can get funding, not to mention the who segregation issue.

Private health care options? No, I believe in fixing issues in the system, and McGuinty has been working on that. It's a slow process, but as mentioned, some of us have good stories even if not everyone does. The claws of Mike Harris reach far.

McGuinty has proven two things: he was green when he came to power and made mistakes getting there--but his record over the past few years suggests he's learning from those mistakes, and doing a better job than his Conservative predecessors.

Tory has proven that he and his party are still out of step with the majority of Ontarians. Keep working on it, and maybe next time. As for right now, Tory is not ready, and McGuinty deserves another shot.

As for Hampton, I like what he has to offer but I see 'orange' and I can't help but think 'higher taxes'. His challenge is to continue to prove to us that an NDP vote is not a wasted vote or a vote for ridiculous tax-and-spend policies. Regardless, I'd sooner give him the keys than Tory.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:19 PM

Selena (Oakville) wrote:

I believe that Hampton is the best one to vote for. He has a good platform that I believe would work better than the liberal governments 4 years of lies. Hampton seems like he knows the struggles of those who are lower income, and plans to help them out however he can.

I really liked when McGuinty said that class sizes are down and Hampton caught him in a lie and said that his kid has to deal with a class size of 38.

And hospital wait times have not gone down, just a few months ago, my grandmother and her friend who was having a series of small strokes had to wait in the waiting room for 9 hours just to see a doctor for what was a serious situation! McGuinty is a liar and he has done nothing to fix any problems.

Tory brought up some good points, but he isn't who I'd trust to run a government. I say Hampton all the way!

Posted September 21, 2007 12:12 PM

Dennis Roberts (Ajax) wrote:

McGuinty by far outperformed John Tory and Howard Hampton. He certainly gave as good as he got, based on the dismal record of previous Conservative and NDP governments. Both Conservative and NDP spend far too much time on negative personal attacks and smeer tactics. Lets not forget the devastation that Mike Harris and Bob Rae brought upon Ontarians when they were in power.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:04 PM

Glenn F Treml (Thunder_Bay) wrote:

Overall, Dalton McGuinty appeared very weak in the debate, which is not surprising given how weak his leadership has been in the past 4 years.

Dalton's solutions to the issues facing the province are a series of patches and cover over policies that do not deal with the problems directly. Such an example as proposing that a handgun ban would reduce crime, rather than dealing with economic problems, neglected communities, schooling deficiencies and lack of opportunities that are fueling crime statistics.

In addition, I was infuriated by Mr. Mc Guinty's statement about all the jobs created during his time in office. Come to Thunder Bay and try to tell us that! This community along with many others have never had such huge job losses in history.

Mills and factories have shut down, and people are moving to other provinces to find work. This also leads to vacant homes and buildings adding to the deterioration of our communities.

So Dalton, just where are all these new jobs? There are lots of people desperate for work around here.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:04 PM

Roger Green (Brighton) wrote:

The moderator lost - he was incompetent and often let the "debate" turn into a rowdy free-for-all. Hampton had the most heart and presented the most platform but how would he pay for it all? And he was the rudest, talking beyond his time and interrupting McGuinty in his time. Tory was himself, making it pretty clear that his government would be like the last Conservative government. Who won? I'd say McGuinty. He was positive, presented facts, projected competence, and followed the debate rules. I'll still vote Liberal.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:50 AM

Simon Roberts (Ottawa) wrote:

Howard Hampton looked like a big brick of jello, Dalton McGuinty looked like the weasel that he is, and John Tory looked like a used car dealer. ("I'll make this province an offer it can't refuse...") And I'm none too impressed with the Green party's technical difficulties, either. Maybe I should move to a province that isn't run by a bunch of Torontocrats before it's too late.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:47 AM

Elvin Takeda (OttawaSouth) wrote:

Apparently viewers bought Mr. McGuinty's dance and smoke and mirrors tactics. The fact of the matter is, the Fiberals did not deliver on many of the issues which got them elected and Im sorry..but our health system is not better..regardless of what some people believe.

If anyone thinks that defending one's inaction is a good quality of a premier..you have to check your head. A good premier will do what he says and will accept the consequences of not doing so. Mr. McGuinty has not done what he originally promised to do and has accepted NO CONSEQUENCES for this. To surive the storm is not enough and my vote is clearly for Tory.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:42 AM

Kathleen W. Smith (Toronto) wrote:

McGuinty established himself as in charge and capable. He knew his facts, remained unperturbed, and dealt a few well-aimed barbs at the others.

Tory was negative and kept falling back on anecdotes rather than having the broad picture; perhaps he could be easily swayed by individual visitors to his office. He ignored his own platform.

Hampton was not attempting to win but demonstrated his effectiveness in opposition.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:19 AM

Jaime Ward (Toronto) wrote:

I thought Mr. McGinty did as well as he could considering he was being attacked the whole night. My vote is for the Liberals.

I don't understand why any one would put a PC government back in power with their track record. Tax cuts are great, but where is funding coming from for public services.

As for the NDP, they have been out of power so long that their ideas are just crazy to put in place right away. Lets be smart Ontario, the extra $20(tax cut) in your pocket, and private health care is not the way to go.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:17 AM

Devin (Sault_Ste_Marie) wrote:

I would have to say that Mr Tory did come out on top, in terms of being the 'smoothest' in the debate. However, I honestly think diverting $500 million to faith based schools is the biggest mistake this provice could ever do. Also, private clinics are NOT the way to go! If private clinics are allowed, what is to stop the government from pulling the plug on OHIP funding and telling us we now have to pay for those services? We should be instead focusing on funding and improving our public system that we have now. Why derail what we have worked so hard to create?

I will definitely be voting Liberal.

Posted September 21, 2007 11:01 AM

Rob Smith (Toronto) wrote:

I think the current leader of gov't is always going to get hammered. I think as far as a "smooth" politician - Tory won!

However, I am still voting Liberal because it is the ago old question "Are we better now" And I think we are. The last thing Ont needs is another Tory gov't. While Tory looked smooth, where is he gettting his figures from. How is he going to slash spending, remove the tax (which I dont like but necc), balance the books and spend more in Ontario.

Hampton always looks like he is about to cry
Tory reminded me of a slicker version of Mike Harris.
McGuinty, although did not look as smooth, I beleive he defended his actions and I have more trust in him.

PS - What politician does not break promises. They have been doing it before John A MacDonald, Mr Tory

Posted September 21, 2007 10:44 AM

Jerry A. Zuchlinski (Sault_Ste_Marie) wrote:

As a green party supporter for many years, I watched the debate with disappointment in not being able to see and hear the logical alternatives that the Green Party has to offer.

On the issue of health care, people would have heard something as follows. Any business looks to input costs as their principle source of reduction. In the case of health care that equates to the number of patients that need attention. As such, if you can remove a half million patients from the input side; there would be a corresponding reduction in wait times, number of medical personnel required etc.

And so a concerted effort to reduce air pollutants, water pollutants, food additives, pesticides etc and initiatives to promote exercise and proper diet would in fact have huge benefit in reducing health care costs while while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:39 AM

E Brohm (Winnipeg_MB) wrote:

I would just like to say that Dalton McGinty cannot use the Conservative mess for breaking his promises. In 2003, Howard Hampton clearly told him that the economic numbers that his promises were based on were just plain wrong. He chose to ignore that fact and make them anyways. He can only blame himself.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:36 AM

Andrew Schonberger (Toronto) wrote:

I don't think anybody really won. People already know Dalton broke promises - they needed to get him on other things and they didn't. Howard Hampton seemed to be the only one who really got his platform across. I think John Tory was at a bit of a disadvantage because the debate allowed Dalton to tie the old Conservative government with Tory and go after his interest in private health care - something that hasn't really been done, since there aren't any Liberal attack ads.

In the end, Dalton talked too fast, John Tory was grabbing at straws and Mr. Hampton was having a discussion with the video camera. I guess the only one who can benefit is McGuinty for leaving unscathed, although I wouldn't say he won.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:29 AM

Aaron (Kitchener_ON) wrote:

This was definitely a win for Tory, and to a lesser extent, Hampton. They simply hammered McGuinty from beginning to end.

McGuinty did not look very premier-like in constantly bringing up references to previous governments. Sounds like he's trying to disavow responsibility for the last 4 years by blaming the people before him.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:24 AM

Marc Kobayashi (MarkhamON) wrote:

Who won the debate? From what I heard on the radio this morning on the drive in to work, it was the same old boring unenlightening sales pitches where there was no clear winner or loser.

Instead of wasting my time watching the Leaders Debate, I was watching Green Party leader Frank de Jong live online answering the same questions. What a shame he wasn't included, because he brought forward some real amazing solutions and explained how all the issues are interrelated to each other.

I'll say this for the Greens; they have vision! There's a slogan on their web site that says "Be the change you want to see". I was already planning to vote Green, but now I think I'll even make a donation to the party.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:15 AM

Michael (toronto) wrote:

I was very impressed by John Tory and not too surprised by Dalton. Regardless of what political stripes you wear, a leader who continues to blame a predecessor 4 years after taking office, is no leader.

He even had the audacity of looking back to Bob Rae times. Well, whether or not you like Bob or Mr. Harris, one thing is certain, those men made promises and kept them. Dalton merely sells his principles for votes so he can maintain power in a position that is far beyond his capacity.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:08 AM

Wilmar Kortleever (Toronto) wrote:

The winner was public education. The whole debate was one continuing argument for a major funding increasing, especially where civility and manners are concerned. Preferably about 40 (McGuinty) to 50 years retroactively to when these 'leaders' went to school.

Or, as my four-year old characterized about half-way in: 'There they go again', with accompanying deep sigh. And right on the money, it was when McGuinty was once again interrupted by both his shouting 'opponents', despite brave attempts by the excellent moderator.

Other than that, Tory and even more Hampton landed some punches, but (especially Tory) in a very, very unpleasant way that defeated their purpose (attacting people besides the ones that were already on board). If 'leadership' is so important, the seemingly always so nice Mr. Tory showed a very, very unpleasant side of himself - inadvertently confirming al kinds of views widely held about his party. So much for the moderate big-tent party.

Therefore, besides Hampton (by far the best on the issues), McGuinty was the 'winner', by admitting both his faults and his accomplishments. At least he seems to understand what he did wrong and why.

The Conservatives still deny any and all of the devastation the Ontario public so clearly punished them for only four years ago. Mr Tory was exactly the one man who could make this 'brake' with the unpleasant past, but apparently his position in the party is not secure enough to do that. That, or he adheres to the US-republican form of 'leadership': deny, ignore and repeat yourself. People are smarter than mr. Tory gives them credit for.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:07 AM


Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty did well on the debate.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:04 AM

Kent MacNeill (Sudbury_ON) wrote:

It sounds like Mr. Tory has taken a page from fellow Tory Ralf Klein. It seems to me that if Private clinics are opened, in contravention of the Canada Health Act, then we would have no transfer of funds from the Federal Government, meaning that Mr. Tory will have to find even more money while balancing the budget, providing more services and giving tax breaks. Puff the Magic Dragon is a more believable storyline.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:03 AM

Wilson Bant (Toronto) wrote:

For Dalton McGuinty it was not about winning or losing it was about surviving and dodging as many questions as he could in an attempt to sure the topics stayed as far off from the 2003 platform as possible.

In that respect he failed,

In the case of John Tory this was the first time many in Ontario would have the opportunity to see him live and overall I was impressed, Dalton McGuinty was able to draw him off topic a few times but I think the line of the evening was "Mr. McGuinty when we start new jobs we can blame our predecessor for a few weeks, but you have had four years."

Howie impressed me as he always does offering a less fanatical look at the NDP and carrying himself very well, if the Federal NDP had a leader like Hampton I think they would be the official opposition.

I would never vote NDP, but I have to respect his performance.

Posted September 21, 2007 10:01 AM

dhedges (Elliot_Lake) wrote:

John Tory of course, if we're being totally honest.

Dalton McGuilty if you're a "Die Hard" Fiberal.

Howard Hampton, if you're looking for a "Hand Out" and begrudge success !

Posted September 21, 2007 09:45 AM

Dan Slote (London) wrote:

I think John Tory won hands down ... Yes indeed he showed true leadership and understands how to get it done . I do believe having OHIP pay for the private clinics is the way to do it ... after all they are not going away also bringing the faith based schools into the puplic system is also the way to go ... Very well thought out ... a gold star for John Tory !!

Posted September 21, 2007 09:36 AM

alex (orillia) wrote:

i am not quite sure who won the debate, but i find it pretty rich when John Tory brings up the shortage of doctors and longer wait times considering that if it wasn't for the previous tory government, we wouldn't have this kind of problem.

Posted September 21, 2007 09:16 AM

Elvin Takeda (Ottawa_South) wrote:

Mr. Tory was the clear winner of last night's debate and exposed Mr. McGuinty's clear weaknesses as a Premier. If anyone has studied body language you would have noticed that each time that Mr. McGuinty was making something up on the spot, his eyes, head, or entire body would drift to the right. Studies have shown that this is a sign that someone is using the right side of his brain which is understood to be the side for creativity. Was he creating numbers, figures and spinning his web of deceit? Who knows?Broken promises, crumbling economy and infrastructure, overcrowded schools, etc. a week or so before the election called. The tactics speak for themselves.

Mr. Tory was cool, confident and had a chance to explain to the entire province his policies and how to make Ontario #1 again in the country. Lower taxes, no health care tax (which Mr. McGuinty finally called it one publically), a responsible energy platform, billions of gas-tax to be given to municipalities in his FIRST YEAR of his mandate. Allow private clinics to treat patients with NO EXTRA FUNDS but with your OHIP card. Other religious faiths to receive the same treatment as the Catholic Church. Safer streets, keep violent criminals in jail and the list goes on and on.

It would appear to me that Mr. Tory clearly believes that by reducing personal and corporate taxes will spur Ontario's economy once again. Let's think...more money is people's pockets, manufacturing jobs will come back to the province, which means that more people will remain here and contribute to the economy will mean that the tax base will actually increase and the province will grow. More personal and corporate taxes means that people will be bankrupt, businesses will leave, which means that those who stay (you and I) will have to pay the lion's share of everything so that Mr. McGuinty's Liberals can secretly fund traditionally Liberal-friendly clubs and whomever applies for those "secret" grants.

Posted September 21, 2007 07:45 AM

Jason Aviss (Toronto) wrote:

Hampton was the winner in this debate. He stuck to his platform, and took McGuinty to task on his broken promises. Tory did well, too. His anecdotal style may come across as folksy, but he was more personal than McGuinty, who stuck to cold statistics for his defense.

I was wavering with my vote, but now I know it's going to the NDP now. We don't need endless lists of promises that will be broken. We need a higher minimum wage, a better funding formula for schools (Hampton stayed above the mud-slinging on this one entirely, and gave an entirely different approach to the schools issue, which I was thankful for), and a fairer distribution for the health tax. Hampton also disagreed with the idea that Ontario needs more nuclear power plants. Nuclear is the absolute worst possible alternative to our fossil fuel reliance: there is still not any comprehensive plan to dispose of nuclear waste. We need to focus on conservation and renewables, and we need to do that now. Well done Mr. Hampton.

Posted September 21, 2007 07:10 AM

john gerassimou (lasalle_ontario) wrote:

no it should be done public where its proven cheaper

Posted September 21, 2007 02:46 AM

Tyrone (London_) wrote:

Dalton McGuinty did not seem genuine and Mr. Tory was very passionate about Ontario and is a man with a plan.

Cleary John Tory won the debate and will make a fine Premier in the new Government he is a safe choice.

Dalton trying to scare didn't work I went to a methodist school we said grace was the only difference. McGuinty just seams like a cold hearted person.

The NDP fella held his own no help no hurt to his party but in all fairness he did have a cold.

Posted September 21, 2007 01:24 AM

Michael (Toronto) wrote:

John Tory clearly came out on top. He spoke with confidence and conviction. He looked as though he had that "eye of the tiger" when communicating the major short comings of McGuinty.

McGuinty broke too many promises and really let the province down over the last 4 years. Throughout the debate, McGuinty avoided answering the tough questions by pointing out minor successes which had nothing to do with the issues at hand.

Posted September 21, 2007 12:41 AM

peter h. (london_ontario) wrote:

Dalton showed great poise and strength, he deserves credit for the strength and courage it took to be the brunt of an onslaught such as he recieved from Howard Hampton and John Tory; as far as I am concerned John Tory seems more interested in complaining then actually getting points and issues across to the voters.

As for Howard Hampton I can't help but feel, well sorry for the guy and his party, the NDP again is left with the role of laying out promises that will never have a chance to come into existence under an NDP led government. Overall I give Dalton McGuinty A, John Tory B-, and Howard Hampton B-

Posted September 21, 2007 12:01 AM

Cecil Mackesey (Durham_Region_) wrote:

The debate has changed my feelings on John Tory, to the point that I would not vote for him. He seems to plastic and reminds me of someone only showing the face they want you to see. I feel Howard Hampton had some very good ideas and programs to move this province forward. He has my trust and I look forward to watching the rest of this campaign.

Posted September 20, 2007 11:56 PM

Darcy Harris (Hagersville_Ontario) wrote:

I don't believe that there was a winner. The debate was full of half truths and a lot of dodging when it came to straight answers. Personally I don't think any of the three will make a good premier and that is a scary prospect.

Posted September 20, 2007 11:56 PM

Ron (Ottawa) wrote:

Well - Mr McGuinty was under attack a lot but it is his record that is being judged in the coming election. I was less than impressed with his defence of that record. He consistently blamed someone else - even going back to the early 90's to lay some blame on the NDP government - He blamed the deficit he inherited for breaking his word on taxes but couldn't realy explain why he broke his promise on the coal plants and totally failed to account for why he broke his promise to the parents of autistic children, even taking them to court to avoid keeping his word. (He is even blaming the constitution for why he has to fund Catholic schools but opposes all other faith based funding) - He certainly was the "loser" of the debate.

Hampton had some good points, especially when he was challenging the Premier on the issue of clawbacks on poor famlies and the quick passage of a huge MPP pay raise. All in all I think Tory came out the winner. An opposition leader's primary role in these things is to look like a premier or PM or whatever and tonight John Tory looked like a premier.

Posted September 20, 2007 11:48 PM

Tyler McCord (Burlington) wrote:

It was a great evening for those voters just starting to tune in to the leadership race. John Tory looked like the clear leader in this evening’s debate. His delivery was crisp and focused. Ontario had an excellent opportunity to become familiarized with the PC candidate.

Premier McGuinty had a difficult task in defending his performance to-date. He often stammered and exhibited a defeated and weak posture that did not instill a sense of confidence in this undecided voter.

Howard Hampton behaved in a controlled and thoughtful manner. He was quite concise in his responses but in doing so played out a safe roll.

At times it was almost painful to watch Premiere McGuinty peppered on the left and right. However, his inability to defend his record surely strengthened the PC and NDP camps. Only time will tell how this evenings debate will influence voters at the polls.

Posted September 20, 2007 11:38 PM

Linda fraser (Toronto) wrote:

I think Frank de Jong won the Leader's debate. He wasn't allowed to talk about the issues really concerning the people of Ontario, nor was he allowed to discuss his agenda even though he has a full slate of candidates in every riding in Ontario and he is a party leader. He is not into putting down the other leaders, he just wants the best for the people of Ontario. Frank won by not being there.

Posted September 20, 2007 11:34 PM

nev crawford (Alberta) wrote:

Who is the tory....Dalton or John...from what I saw of the debate only Howard made sense

Posted September 20, 2007 11:19 PM

Jesse Snyder (Clifford) wrote:

I'd say Hampton won. I mean, he did engage in 'bashing' McGuinty, but all in all, he stayed on topic to reiterate his party's platform, and that is mature politics for me.
However, McGuinty did do a good job at defending himself and his government's record but Tory did an excellent job at constantly 'punching' McGuinty's record and tenure. Also, Tory's snide remarks were also quite humorous!
But, in the end, Hampton was again able to sway me his way!

Posted September 20, 2007 10:38 PM

John Moffatt (StrathroyOntario) wrote:

I believe that the funding of private clinics is simply another step towards a two-tear American style heath care system.

Surgery in private clinics should be phased out and the money saved should be spend on publicly operated facilities that are equally accessable to all of us. The conservatives are desperate for two-tear health care for two reasons.

One, to provide superior private health care for the rich, and two, to channel massive amounts of public money to corporations controlled by rich Canadians.

Posted September 20, 2007 10:32 PM

Bryce (Niagara) wrote:

A clear victory for Tory.
-He successfully emphasized the message that Mr. McGuinty mislead Ontario voters for the purpose of political gain. Multiple election promises that were never kept.
-Tory was efficient in explaining the "faith based funding" policy, it was clear that the plan is inclusive.
- The premier appeared to be on his heels the majority of the evening..

Posted September 20, 2007 10:11 PM

C. Barrett (Toronto) wrote:

John Tory won the debate and has my vote. Concise, clear and competent.

Posted September 20, 2007 09:54 PM

Fran Gill (Sundridge) wrote:

I thought that they could have passed for the the three stooges not one telling the truth and its a wonder that Dalton nose did not grow bigger at each attempt to answer the questions or interaction with the others two I have decide not to bother they turned me off

Posted September 20, 2007 09:30 PM

Paul (Orillia) wrote:

This debate didn't change my mind.

The Province was in a mess that the previous Conservative Government left behind.

It was impossible for the Liberals to get everything done in 4 years, but they have done a lot and more to do.

Those Conservatives can do everything overnight.

Posted September 20, 2007 09:30 PM

Charlene Smith (WoodstockOntario) wrote:

From what I just watched,we are all in trouble.

I don't understand how anybody plans to fix anything if you can't get off the issue of the day and look at the deeper causes of all these issues,poverty.

I am not saying none of these issues are not important but...
I have said this over and over,at the end of the day a roof over your head and food in your kid's stomach are all that matters.

Every issue pales in comparison.

If you fix the underlying problem of poverty and address the issues that come with it,you would find the other issues just might to begin to fix theirselves.

People are too busy trying to survive.

I have heard all kinds of argument but who really gives a damn if you are sick,cold or hungry?

Politicians and society needs to get their priorities in order.
We are suppose to be a civilized first world nation and yet we have poverty and third world living conditions in Canada!

Society has forgotten the key word in humanity and humane,it is human,we have forgotten what that means...

Posted September 20, 2007 09:14 PM

john Shannon (toronto) wrote:

tory came off as the most credible leader with the strongest answers and most balanced presence.

Posted September 20, 2007 09:05 PM

Devin (Woodlawn_Ontario) wrote:

I have to say that McGuinty won the debate, mainly due to the fact that he defended himself and his record reasonably well. There were at least two significant missteps on his part where he was obviously deflecting the question, but for the most part he stayed on message. I accept his reasons for the broken promise regarding the tax hike...I have indeed seen an improvement in services since McGuinty was elected, and I'm aware of the huge mess left behind by previous governments.

Nevertheless, both Tory and Hampton did well, though I found Hampton more convincing (despite the fact that his left arm seemed to be dead at his side). Tory seemed to be a bit too negative, focusing more on attacking McGuinty and less on what he would do differently. Hampton at least had some more concrete ideas.

I know that it would be bad form for McGuinty to challenge this, but I won't hesitate to do so: how would either have Hampton or Tory handled the challenges that McGuinty has? If they can adequately answer that, I may just give them my vote (well, probably not Tory because of his ridiculous stand on faith-based schools)

Posted September 20, 2007 08:51 PM

Paul (Orillia_Ontario) wrote:

Given the mess the Conservatives left Ontario with 4 years ago, the Liberals have done what they can without making Ontario worse than the condition and deficit created by the previous government.

The debate did not change my mind. Liberals will continue to work and improve.

Posted September 20, 2007 08:49 PM

Joe (Richmond_Hill) wrote:

Did John Tory really tell us what he plans to do, if in government? I'm not necessarily a McGuinty fan but Tory doesn't seem to have a firm understanding of what it takes to govern. All we really heard was one promise about private clinics using public money, because he ducked the faith based schools issue at the very beginning.

Considering Tory's insiders are leftover from Harris/Eaves (with most of the young talent jumping to the Feds), it would seem Tory hasn't done much of anything to sway any votes, particularly those on the fence who supported Harris and then wanted change, and voted for McGuinty.

Posted September 20, 2007 08:16 PM

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