An overwhelming majority of Canadians want to see Stéphane Dion and Prime Minister Stephen Harper square off in a televised debate on the Liberals' proposal for a carbon tax, a new poll shows.
"Canadians appear to be ready to see Harper and Dion discussing policy away of the confines of the House of Commons, and this might help Dion," said Mario Canseco, director of global studies for Angus Reid Strategies.
Almost 70 per cent of Canadians are keen to see that debate happen, according to the Toronto Star/Angus Reid poll released yesterday.
Canseco said the political duel could work to Dion's advantage as he tries to pitch his party's carbon tax proposal to voters.
"More than anything, it gives Dion an opportunity to shed the label of weakness," Canseco said
The money quote:
"Harper might never agree to this debate, but Dion will have a chance to say that he was willing to meet him anytime, and that the onus is on the Prime Minister," Canseco said.
And there it is, whether Harper agrees or not is a side issue, what does matter is the optics. Dion wanting a debate, the public agrees and Harper is on the defensive. That is a terrific position to be in for Dion, because he does address the “weakness” factor and it is left to Harper to find excuses, or agree. I hope the formal letter includes the “will of Canadians”, it would be a nice touch :)