Canadian Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has suggested he and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have a one on one debate excluding both the NDP and Bloc Quebecois Leaders Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe.
Stephen Harper suggested Wednesday that the televised leaders debates could involve a two-man showdown between him and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff since the Bloc and NDP plan to form a coalition government led by Ignatieff.
When the Liberal leader was told about Harper’s one-on-one proposition, he said: “Any time, any place. . . . I don’t want to exclude anyone. It’s not up to me to choose, but I’m ready to debate directly with Mr. Harper.”
Harper’s comments put a new twist on the issue of whether Green Party leader Elizabeth May should be included in the TV debates, as she was in the 2008 election. The consortium of broadcasters that runs the debate said this week May hadn’t been invited, noting the Greens don’t hold a seat in the House of Commons.
Asked whether May should be included, Harper said that was up to the consortium to decide. But he added another dig at the Bloc Quebecois and NDP, whom he has accused of wanting to form a “reckless” coalition under the Liberals.
“We’re open to any number of possibilities. We can have a traditional debate of parliamentary leaders. We can have a debate that includes . . . May in such a format,” Harper told reporters at a campaign stop in Brampton, Ont. “We can have a debate that includes every party that’s on the ballot. We could also have a debate between Mr. Ignatieff and myself. After all, the real choice in this election is a choice between a Conservative government or an Ignatieff-led government that all of these other parties will support.”
I’m sure Harper would like such a setup to provide a nice contrast between himself and the least popular federal leader. Not gonna happen. But talking about it allows him to sneak in the coalition smear through the backdoor.
The question he should be asked is why is he so afraid of Jack Layton.
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