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Alberta debates shine a bright light on character

6 5 9

Rachel Notley may not flaunt the swaggering charisma of a Trudeau, but as she demonstrated in this week’s leaders’ debate, she sure wins on character. She conveys as well, a deep determination to fight for a politics of values, as she laced her opponent over and over for his wobbly handling of some very insalubrious candidates. Putting her opponent’s name in the same sentence as charisma or values-driven leadership increasingly produces sardonic guffaws.

Debates rarely turn on policy differences, except when a candidate drops an unintentional clanger: Gerald Ford “liberating” Poland, John Turner claiming “they made me do it,” about a barrel of patronage gifts. Notley stuck to a clear political message track, reminding voters of her child care, health and education pledges.

Her opponent, United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, often sounded like an overconfident policy wonk angrily spouting stats in a student union debate. Political insiders score debates on direct hits and good recoveries. Real voters look for clues as to character: “Is this a leader who will fight for me and my family?”

The two leaders had a clear mission. For Notley it was........

© Toronto Star