I had a chance to watch the debate last night. Hampton, Tory and McGuinty. I was surprised at how easy it was to predict the issue for the debate: character.
Whether character really matters in politics is an open question. From my perspective, McGuinty was clearly on the defensive. He repeatedly said “we have more work to do” when challenged about his electoral platform from the previous election. Or he blamed the actions of previous Conservative and NDP governments. He looked uncomfortable and his body language suggested that he was bothered by the process.
At one point, he looked directly at the camera and said that the people of Ontario will judge his track record. Whether this was scripted or not, the very next question was on his broken promise about not raising taxes.
If there was any lesson in this debate, it was the importance of following through on your commitments. Even as a political leader, a string of broken commitments does not build credibility. Nor does it build trust.