10 October 2008

Jack channels Al Gore, in a bad way

New Democrat candidate Jack Harris seemed to be channeling Al Gore at the all candidates debate on CBC Radio Thursday.

No, not Enviro-Champ Al Gore, but the "I invented the Internet" version.

Morning Show host Jeff Gilhooley asked Harris what he would be able to accomplish for the riding if he were elected as an opposition bencher.

Harris replied he could do lots.

Like say when he was here in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the opposition benches:

"We've got school bussing in St. John's, which we didn't have, thanks to me."


Thanks to Jack?

Jack may have advocated for school bussing but the service was extended to include metropolitan St. John's by Lloyd Matthews, the Liberal cabinet minister filling in for Judy Foote who was on sick leave at the time.

The candidates took turns whacking Jack largely because the polls have him way out in front of the rest.  They brought up all manner of points.  The video  - available at cbc.ca/nl/features/debate - makes for some entertaining viewing, even if the audio sucks.

Conservative Craig Westcott got in some of the sharpest licks, including one over Jack and what he plans to do with his provincial pension if he is elected to Ottawa. He kept it up on Friday with a statement aimed squarely at the issue of potential double-dipping by the former member of the provincial legislature:

"Yesterday during our all-candidate debate I posed a very simple question to NDP candidate Jack Harris: if he is elected to serve in Ottawa, will he follow in Norm Doyle's footsteps and donate his provincial pension to charity?

"Mr. Harris avoided answering this question during our debate. So I pose the question again: what will Jack do?"

"I'm not necessarily saying it's wrong to do it, but voters in St. John's East should know Jack Harris' position before election day."

Westcott also scored the most memorable jab during the all-candidates session:

"The only reason he's running this time is because the party couldn't come up with another candidate, so his arm was twisted by Jack Layton and Danny Williams [Harris' former law partner] so what I'd like to know is, when he goes to Ottawa and both of them tell him to jump, which one is he going to listen to?"

They may well have whacked at jack because he's the front runner.  Then again, when you claim credit for things you demonstrably didn't do, you pretty much invite a pile on.