Let’s get it on


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.


Let’s get it on

  1. Alright I would love to see Harper and the Igster go toe to toe – might be a good fight .. hopefully Harper won't have to hold him up for a few rounds like he does in QP. I think we need denates just between oppostion parties otherowrds they always just pile on the PM and it gets very boring.

  2. A one on one debate would certainly be worth having. Then again, I'm all for more debates. I'd like to see Layton debate Harper one on one too, and maybe an Ignatieff-Layton debate too (it would be unfair to expect Harper to debate Layton and not expect Ignatieff to as well). I think all we can hope for is the Harper-Ignatieff debate, but I'd love to see the others too.

  3. BTW, could you not have used "Let's get ready to rumble"???

    Marvin Gaye is not what I need in my head when thinking about Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper.

  4. Are you saying you disagree? Or, having nothing of substance to bring forth, are you just attempting a drive by smear.

    Incidentally, he doesn't ever say that torture is not evil, he says that the life saving result overwhelms the evil. Personally, I disagree. Though it's a debate that can certainly be interesting to have. The movie "Unthinkable" does a reasonable treatment of it. Worth watching.

  5. Naked Potato Salad Wrestling Cage Match!

  6. ^ Definitely read the Craigslist ad.

  7. He's trying the 'old quotes' gambit….forgetting entirely that there are a raft of old Harper quotes he won't want to hear.

  8. Is it ten cents a word they're getting?

  9. I think he was more going for Vince McMahon.. though the idea of both of them in tight spandex probably isn't any better…

  10. ..and that's even worse.

  11. Ignatieff should be careful about accepting this.

    Harper is the master of spin, and if this goes on national television you know Harper will have an ace up his sleeve.

    I say go for it, I'm fairly confident that Ignatieff is the smarter man but that Harper has the killer instinct. It could be a great.

  12. Okay, we can use coleslaw instead then.

  13. Harper has had to explain all those quotes for three elections now. Why shouldn't Iggy do it at least once?

    Again, some of you want a set of rules for yourselves, and another set of rules for everyone else. Interesting.

  14. Coyne vs Wells is a tried true format. Now we just need to settle – Starbucks or Tim Horton's.

    Coffees of the World seems like a good compromise location. Fair trade coffee though – Juan Valdez is so yesterday.

  15. UFC 129 in Toronto. Ignatieff vs. Harper in the main event. I want them to experience real pain.

  16. Ignatieff has long since explained them.

    Harper never has.


  17. Careful, there, Conboy, Harper without talking points is not a pretty sight.

  18. Ignatieff should be jumping at this.

    Like people say, when you're beaten down so far, there's nowhere to go but up. Risk/reward on this one is much worse for Harper than Ignatieff. At this point Ignatieff has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  19. And, just to be clear, by "one on one" he means he will take one question on one topic.. assuming he gets to see the question 72 hours in advance so that his speech-writers can prepare the answer.

  20. Name one bloody time during this campaign where these Iggy quotes have come up? God.

  21. So by "final" debate they mean we won't ever have to watch this again?

  22. Immediately became stuck in my head as well, along with a not so pretty picture.

    Thanks Aaron.

  23. During this campaign? I thought the metric you were using was "for three elections"

    Nifty wheels on those goalposts.

  24. Um, right now?

  25. JohnG- true enough in that Iggy has nothing to lose, but I believe if Harper is serious about this it is because they are doubling down on the belief that Iggy is the most unlikeable man in politics, which they're clearly basing they're campaign on. Have you seen those "A vote for the Liberals is a vote for Iggy" ad?
    I think Harper's people really believe that any exposure to Iggy only hurts him.

    More one on ones would be great any case, and set a great precedent.

  26. Now, now, that's why God invented earpieces.

  27. Where Iggy has addressed them. Next.

  28. It means Death Match. Or Rapture. I'm not sure.

  29. I don't know what your reading skills are, but that was in reference to Harper. Or was this last sentence difficult for you to read, too?

  30. Wouldn't it be nice to have debates in the House of Commons? in , oh, uhm, Question Period?

  31. He answered them long time ago hon.

    Try to avoid doors today, K?

  32. Of course it was a reference to Harper. You said he'd had to explain his quotes for three elections. Emily said Ignatieff had explained his quotes quite a while ago.. presumably if that's during the last three elections worth of time, they've both explained their quotes in a similar time frame.

    You're the one who's arguing that Ignatieff needs to explain quotes now while Harper doesn't because he already has. If you really want the same set of rules for everyone, then you either agree that Ignatieff doesn't need to explain quotes that he already has either, or that both of them need to go over this old ground once more.

  33. I am a Conservative supporter but I believe in fairness. The News org consortium excluded the Greens from the debate yesterday is un democratic.

    I complained to the consortium spokes man Marco Dube on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/marcodubeCBCRC

    Let's hope they realize the importance here…else they should not be allowed to decide such things.

  34. No, you'd think he would, but this is the same guy who agreed to extend the last debate to speak specifically about the economy–then was completely floored when the others arrived with ideas and platforms to deal with the economy! Like, he didn't know they were going to do that! So, based on that, I think often Harper's chess mastery is overrated.

  35. When I get that feeling, I need — what's that next line, LKO? Is that what's going through your head?

    The in-and-out scandal must have made you HOT.

  36. Creamy or oil and vinegar?

  37. They should definitely do a one-on-one debate. But out of fairness they should add all the other party leaders.

  38. Assuming Mr. Harper gets elected to a majority, yes. We'll be able to dispense with this entire business of elections because they're so risky to our economy.

  39. Is it just me who thinks it's sad that you have to qualify your first statement with your second? It shouldn't have to be that way.

    That said, it probably does CPC supporters more good than harm to have May in the debates, as she's put herself so firmly on the left side of the ideological spectrum it just splits up those votes more.

  40. uhm oh Can't. Just so you know, the house is desolved. ;)

  41. a) Where?

    b) How about to voters in a campaign like every leader is supposed? Like Harper did?

    This is getting tiresome, Nola.

  42. BAM!

    Oops another door, Dennis

  43. Ignatieff should be carefull about accepting what?

    This is what he has said so far: "But you know, I like to go toe-to-toe with Stephen Harper. That seems to me to be the main event. Of course she's welcome … She was there last time.”

    You don't get it? So far he is ok with going toe-to-toe with Stephen Harper as long as the anti-Harper crowd is there with him on the stage.

    Ignatieff's remarks have not yet…..indicated that he is willing to do a one-on-one with Harper. It is only Harper who has openly stated that he's willing to debate Ignatieff one-on-one without the others being present. But then again, Harper has been in that position always – one-on-one or one-on-many? It would be easy to go for the advantage right from the bat. That's why Ignatieff will not do a one-on-one debate with Harper. Simple as that.

  44. A Second Cup Debate?

  45. During a campaign, Gomer.

    I'm also not aware of when Iggy actually has had to address much of this.

    Again, lots of people here have one standard of their own, and another for everybody else. Then they say they care about equality and democracy. Whatevs.

  46. Theoretically speaking, some within the media believe Ignatieff is the stronger debater. But I will tell you that in practice, Mr.Ignatieff will not push for a demand of a one-on-one debate with Mr.Harper.

    It's simple: within one-on-one debates, a leader needs to be able to combine the theoretical with the practical and both Ignatieff and Harper know the difference between the two; that's why he would be against such a debate and Harper would be for it.

  47. If true, that's not good for the Liberals. The splintering of the left-wing vote is killing them; they need desperately to be seen as the principal voice of opposition to Harper. A one-on-one debate is exactly what they need for their "red door/blue door" strategy to work, and they would have to be beyond stupid to pass up this opportunity.

  48. Exactly. This is just what the Grits need, and it fits readily into their "red door/blue door" narrative.

  49. maybe he'll bring another cheat sheet.

  50. A one-on-one debate would be fascinating, just to hear the number of times Harper would use the word "coalition". Also, there's the chance that he might get so angry that his eyeballs pop out.

  51. Boy, some of you really hate him, don't you.

  52. I was actually surprised to see Harper say he's game. In fact, I thought it might have been a gaffe. However, maybe he'd prefer a format where most of the attacks wouldn't be directed at him. Maybe he'd like to get an equal amount of time to shoot back, as opposed to one against three or four.

  53. So Iggy's bluff is now called ok Iggy Harper is up for it – bring it on – whatcha gonna do ? has anyone else out there heard what Iggy said to harper calling his bluff?

  54. exactly – you will note that the last debate was all the other parties non-stop firing all their ammunition at harper and to be perfectly honest it was boring as heck after awhile … what we need is man o – man o debates – Iggy has left plenty of wide open points for harper to score big time and Harper has vulnerablilties as well – let's see em both have a go – otheriwise the liberals are cowards – was it gonna be dude!

  55. if you are familiar with Sexual Healing but not Let's Get it On, I bet your age can be estimated within 6-8 years :)

  56. Comment of the week!

  57. I doubt this will go very far beyond each party saying they'd love to do it.

    If it did, Harper would spike the terms (possibly declare mike duffy as moderator and only questioner) then claim Iggy was too afraid.

  58. Sure, Iggy could beat Harper in a one on one debate. No problem. The debate I want to see is Iggy vs. Harper's teleprompter.

  59. I'm with you. Those come-one, come-all free-for-alls where everyone simultaneously tries to speak over the rest or where, as a group, they all pile on one participant, are torture to watch, IMO, and shed far more heat than light.

    I think a series of one-on-one debates holds the most promise, in terms of facilitating useful discussion. So, what's preventing such a format? Is it the networks' reluctance to sacrifice revenue-generating prime time to a series of public service slots? Or is it their assumption that such a series would exceed the electorate's attention span?

  60. He accepted Harper's challenge–and I think you're unclear on just who called whose bluff here.

  61. Nope. French. We're bilingual here.

  62. Marvin Gaye is not what I need in my head when thinking about Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper.

    Great, thanks a lot, now I'm going to have to cleanse my brain somehow, or at least be violently ill.

  63. I know both songs, I was just teasing LKO. As for my age, even my kid knew these songs when he was a teenager. And he's no longer a teen — I'm old!

  64. There's French cole slaw?

  65. I was referring to the dressing. I guess this is another example of why my wife won't let me anywhere near any activity that involves food preparation ;-)

  66. Don't trust things from unscrupulous enemies that seem to benfit you. If any real attempt at this was made, Harper would try to introudce terms that would scuttle it, mark my words.

  67. noted :)

  68. Gimme one? Gimme three … Here’s to a Harper/Layton … Iggy/Layton … Harper/Iggy … series of three … and let the Broadcast Consortium be damned … separate five-way round table somewhere else … like CPAC.

  69. I'm willing to bet that Stephen Harper has (what he feels to be) a sure-fire crippler quote from Michael Ignatieff's past that he is dying to pull out at the debate. You're talking about a first rate control freak here- he would leave nothing to chance.
    It's likely to be something that portrays Michael Ignatieff as anti-Canadian, or American, though it's hard to say.

    This is the only reason I can see for Stephen Harper to so strongly initiate a one on one debate.

  70. 1:43 pm proves you wrong.

  71. Iggy's people didn't speak up at the consortium meeting when this was bought up – so what does that tell you hmmmmm – fear is what it says

  72. "Let's get it on" was also said by boxing referee Mills Lane after he gave pre-fight instructions.

  73. I don't think he goes anywhere these days without that teleprompter. My guess he'll bring the cheat sheet, teleprompter and the Winnipeg singing girl…

  74. You seem to like to make things out of nothing. ;)

  75. I heard about your government falling on the steven colbert show so I thought I would check out your press. What a bunch of idiots! I see you want a majority government, whatever that means. dont you elect a representative for your district? whatever, we want your resources so I hope you get your majority and you know what…were going to get em, eh! (i love saying eh!, morons!!!)

  76. I actually found those ads to be almost a mistake from the CPC. Harper is the one that controls his party with an iron fist. These could boomerang on him. Also, a line of attack from the CPC in the past has been that Ignatieff has no control over his caucus, which they seem to be countering themselves here.

    The ads could actually move the needle to the Liberals for those undecideds who want strong leadership.

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