I can't believe I have to write this again. The consortium of Canadian broadcasters that set the ground rules for the Federal debate have decided once again, in their nowhere near infinite wisdom, that Green Party leader Elizabeth May will not be part of the National Leaders' debate. Really? We've got to do this again? Here's how it will go: the people will complain, the other party leaders will say that they want to have May in the debate, the broadcasters will relent, and May will debate. Why? Because she was in the debate last time!!! What's changed? She can debate last election, but not in this one. They tried her out one time, and decided that May wasn't appealing to the TV audience? That's right, Elizabeth May is the Cousin Oliver of Federal politics, I guess.
Well, in more interesting debate news, Stephen Harper said yesterday that he was willing to include Elizabeth May in the leaders debate, the are other possibilities. “We could also have a debate between Mr. Ignatieff and myself since, 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,” Harper said.
Michael Ignatieff accepted the challenge (exact Tweet: “A one-on-one debate? Any time, any place.”), but what happened after that in terms of trying to set this up is a "He Said-He Said" of epic proportions. “Mr. Ignatieff insisted that his first preference was to have his coalition partners there at the debate, so that’s the format that was proposed and we’ve accepted it,” Harper told journalists in Halifax today. “If Mr. Ignatieff wanted that debate, he could have chosen that debate, but he didn’t.”
First of all, is anyone else sick of the coalition drum banging? It's like Stephen Harper is Swan from The Warriors, leading his rag-tag crew through the menacing streets of Manhattan under attack from all sides by a "coalition" of other gangs - The Turnbull AC's, The Baseball Furies, The Lizzies and The Gramercy Riffs - as they try to get back to Staten Island. The Conservatives have been the government for five years, they lead the polls, they've got momentum and funding, yet somehow, they're the underdogs.
I can understand why Harper would like to face Ignatieff one-on-one, Layton, Duceppe and May can be scary when their Irish is up, but you can't paint them with the same brush as if they've all fallen under the spell of Cyrus in the middle of Van Cortlandt Park asking them if they dig it. After all, we all know Michael Ignatieff charisma level is more on par with Billy Ray Cyrus, than ambitious, and fictional, New York gangsters.