Yesterday, Michael Ignatieff mused of going “toe-to-toe” with Stephen Harper.
At an event in Brampton just now, in addition to saying the Conservatives were open to Elizabeth May taking part in a general leaders’ debate, Mr. Harper has said he’s willing to debate Mr. Ignatieff one-on-one.
Tim Powers is advocating today for Thomas Axworthy’s proposed reforms to the televised debates. One of those potential changes was a “a final debate between the two main contenders.”
Update 1:43pm… Mr. Ignatieff says, “anytime, any place.”
Update 1:46pm… Paul Wells tweets: “Rogers and University of Toronto have formally proposed a debate between Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff. Awaiting campaigns’ reply.”
Update 1:59pm… The NDP is not amused. A statement from the New Democrat campaign, released just now.
“Why is Stephen Harper so afraid to debate Jack Layton? Could it be that Jack Layton is more popular than Michael Ignatieff? Or is it because Jack Layton was the only leader to stand up to Stephen Harper in parliament?
“I can understand why Stephen Harper would chicken out. Mr. Layton just finished a successful Western tour, showing he is the only leader capable of taking on Stephen Harper and beating the Conservatives.
“But Jack Layton isn’t going to let him off the hook that easily. Somebody has to take on Stephen Harper and that’s not Mr. Ignatieff.
“Liberals supported Stephen Harper in over 100 confidence votes – rubber stamping Conservative budgets while getting nothing in return for Canadian families. Michael Ignatieff voted with Stephen Harper to extend the war Afghanistan and helped him pass the HST and raise the price on just about everything in British Columbia and Ontario.
“Anyone who suggests the best way to stand up to Stephen Harper is to vote for the Ignatieff Liberals is dead wrong.”
Update 2:57pm… Mr. Ignatieff tweets his challenge directly to Mr. Harper.
@pmharper A one-on-one debate? Any time. Any place.
Update 5:21pm… Mr. Harper taunts Mr. Ignatieff.
@M_Ignatieff curiously, my team proposed 1:1 to TV consortium today; however, your team did not speak up.
Mr. Layton taunts Mr. Harper.
I remember the ’08 debates @pmharper. Don’t blame you for not wanting to face me again.