The 2003 Ontario Leaders Debate has already been covered quite well by other bloggers. I recommend:
So, I won't add much.
I watched the debate at my in-laws' house, and basically thought that Dalton McGuinty left me with the best impression. Perhaps it is because the Liberals' platform is the best of the three, although not perfect. Or, perhaps it is because he far exceeded the low expectations I had for him personally. I also think he did a strong job of managing his stage relationship with his two competitors.
For political junkies, however, the important insight is the one made by Adam Vaughn in the post-debate chat on CP24. He pointed out that the leaders aren't fighting against each other, but rather against their strategic goals going into the debate. McGuinty clearly did well enough to hold onto most of his lead, if not grow it. Unless Dalton is caught next week actually eating a kitten, this one is over.
On that same CP24 after-show, mayoral candidate John Tory called in to complain that none of the candidates had anything to say about Toronto, or the dire straights that cities find themselves in these days. The onscreen commentator was right on when he answered that it isn't good politics in this province to talk about this city, as we are seen by many others as well-to-do and the recipients of quite a bit of government largesse. Sad, but true.