Editorial — One-on-one debate makes sense

There should be at least one debate featuring only Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff.

The current hot federal election topic is debates, sparked by discussion about the exclusion of Green Party leader Elizabeth May from the televised leaders’ debates.

The decision to exclude May was made by the ”Broadcast Consortium,” a shadowy group of television executives who seem unlikely to qualify as the best guardians of democracy.

In 2008, they also decided to exclude May, and only allowed her in after sustained public pressure. The same thing may happen again.

However, some positive ideas have come out of this latest discussion. Both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff have expressed interest in a one-on-one debate, and that would be a debate worth watching.

The five-person debate in 2008 wasn’t worthwhile. It was mainly an exercise in interruption, shouting and finger-pointing, with few real opportunities to find out where leaders stood on issues.

By contrast, debates in the U.S. between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, which took place about the same time, were outstanding. They were substantive, respectful and enlightening to voters.

The fact is, only Harper and Ignatieff have a chance to form government and be prime minister. Jack Layton will be, at best, a junior partner in a coalition government — and that seems unlikely, given that Ignatieff has said he won’t form a coalition.

Gilles Duceppe is nothing other than a major league irritant. His party isn’t interested in any part of Canada outside Quebec and he does not deserve to be in the English-language leaders’ debates. He is only seeking the votes of French-speaking Quebeckers.

May leads a party which  attracts significant but shallow interest. It gained less than seven per cent of the national vote in 2008 and will never hold any meaningful number of seats unless our electoral system changes.

There should be at least one debate featuring only Harper and Ignatieff. Additional debates featuring the five leaders (in French), with Duceppe excluded from the all-party English debate, would give voters enough chance to check them all out.

Just Posted

Police campaign swoops in on speeding on Aldergrove’s Fraser Highway

The road are getting too ‘busy’ for just one lane, says RCMP volunteer.

PHOTOS: Aldergrove’s aquatic areas partially reopen

Discounted prices in effect until leisure pool construction finished

WATCH: Aldergrove single mother given ‘brand new’ start

Hardworking mother and volunteer is the one helped – for a change

Langley swimmers break records at Hyack

Langley Olympian Swim Club records stood for more than a decade

SWOOP aims at slowing down traffic on Fraser Highway

Officers are out in Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, and White Rock

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7 million to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

UBC prof says report citing $89B home equity loss a ‘grassroots movement of the rich’

Report says longtime homeowners are being taxed out of their homes by the NDP

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

TransLink fares to go up on July 1

Fares will increase by a few cents to a few dollars

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, B.C. lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Two week lock down lifted after drugs, cellphone seized at Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

Most Read