Michael Ignatieff has released an open letter to Stephen Harper.
Dear Mr. Harper:
I am writing about the one-on-one debate that you challenged me to two days ago.
You will recall that when you issued your challenge, I immediately responded, accepting it with enthusiasm.
As you stated, there are only two people who can be Prime Minister after May 2nd: you or me. Canadians truly deserve to see us go face to face in a contest of ideas, values and very different visions for our country. That is what democracy is all about.
Like many Canadians, I was disappointed and puzzled when you reversed your commitment, and tried to back out yesterday. I don’t understand why you have gone back on your word, or why you would wish to disappoint Canadians.
However, it is not too late for you to rectify the situation. Since our original exchange on Wednesday, many invitations to host the debate have come in from prestigious organizations across Canada. So there are any number of venues and times to choose from.
Perhaps I can make this easier for you. I will meet you at the time and place of your choosing. There is no need for complicated or convoluted debate formats. Just two podiums – and you and me. A true, honest-to-goodness battle of ideas and visions.
This is the kind of contest that Canadians are yearning for. I know because I have been meeting ordinary Canadians of all ages, backgrounds and political allegiances at events across Canada. It’s absolutely exhilarating. In fact, I would recommend that you try it.
In closing, I urge you to reconsider your reversal and stick to your word. I strongly believe our fellow Canadians deserve this chance to see the different visions of leadership between the only two people who can become prime minister of this country at the end of this election.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada