What I noticed at last night's all-candidates debate in Collingwood (in no particular order):
A handsome clean-cut guy standing against the far wall looked like he was a secret agent. I half expected him to talk into his watch. It turns out, he was a cop, on duty after threats were made against one of the candidates.
Kellie Leitch seemed to me to make the exact same opening speech she made at the Conservative nomination meeting. Leitch also nodded emphatically when the Christian Heritage candidate said abortion should be outlawed in this country.
Helena Guergis appeared to me (and to my media colleagues gathered for a debrief (ok, drink) afterwards) to be the winner of the evening. This is not to say we agree about how she'll fare on election day. But last night, she was calm cool and collected, and managed not to cry, although I did think at one point she was going to slip a few tears into her closing remarks.
Alex Smardenka of the Liberals read most of his answers to the media members' questions from talking points he had brought along. However, he wasn't reading when he went after Leitch, accusing her of being a parachute candidate. He got booed heartily for that.
Jace Metheral was impressive, and has already grown as a candidate since his second-place finish in Clearview's Ward 3 in the municipal election. If the Greens can continue to attract candidates like him, you can expect them to have seats in the house before long.
Peter VanderZaag, the Christian Heritage guy, seemed like the smartest guy in the room at times. Katy Austin lives up to every stereotype you might hold regarding the NDP. The Action Party guy, Gord Cochrane also seemed reasonable.
The crowd on hand reacted very positively each time a candidate talked about electoral reform. Neither the incumbent nor the Conservative candidate appeared in favour of proportional representation.
Quite a few people I've talked to express frustration, saying they're worried that if they vote for the party they believe in, the candidate they don't want will be the one that gets in, so they feel they have to hold their nose and vote for someone else they don't really want in the seat, to block the one they vehemently don't want. They feel they're in a position where their negative beliefs outweigh their desires. But hasn't it always been that way?
I was very impressed with how many people turned out.
I still don't know who will get my vote. I may have to consult the Magic Eight Ball at Espresso Post.