All four main national party leaders agree to mid-summer Maclean’s debate
Ottawa: The leaders of all four major national parties will go head to head in the first debate of the federal election season in the depths of summer when voters aren’t likely to be paying close attention. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Green party Leader Elizabeth May and after some initial reservations Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will take part in an Aug. 6 debate sponsored by Maclean’s magazine. Liberals had wanted the debate to include a live audience or questions from ordinary Canadians, but multiple sources say that idea was shot down by the Conservatives and NDP. The Conservatives last month declared that Harper will participate in five debates and pre-emptively agreed to four debates organized by Maclean’s, Quebec television network TVA, the Munk Debates and the Globe and Mail, working in concert with Google. The Tories ruled out Harper’s participation in the two televised debates (one French, one English) that are traditionally organized by a consortium of the country’s major broadcasters. Sources from multiple parties say the NDP has backed up the Conservatives almost every step of the way in debate negotiations, effectively allowing the governing party to call all the shots.