Janice Dickson (iPolitics):
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair needs to reconsider his attitude toward federal leaders’ debates and his demand that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper be present in order for him to participate, new polling data from EKOS suggest.
While Mulcair has agreed to participate in a second televised French-language debate being organized by a consortium of broadcasters working with La Presse, he has not committed to an English language debate hosted by the consortium of broadcasters, which is made up of CBC News, ICI Radio-Canada Télé, CTV News and Global News.
But the crux of the problem for Mulcair is that while his decision to decline the English consortium debate is based on Harper’s refusal to participate, voters appear to be viewing his no-show as negatively as they are Harper’s decision to turn down the consortium debate.
The majority of NDP, Liberal and Green supporters say that all four federal leaders should participate in all debates — and 81 per cent of Mulcair’s supporters think he should participate.
“(Mulcair) appeals to Canadians because he’s tapping into discontent with the Harper government. In the case of the traditional English-language TV consortium debate, Mulcair does not want to see himself in the same box as Harper,” said EKOS pollster Frank Graves.