Ignatieff's town hall last night, was described as "Grit leader grilled in Orillia" by a local paper. It wasn't a negative piece, but the title attests to Ignatieff being put through his paces by voters, for almost 2 hours. Conservatives, Greens, probably a plant or two, all comers. Ignatieff has done a few of these, as did his Liberal predecessor Dion, unscripted responses to unknown questions. President Obama did one, just this morning. It really is a great vehicle to engage political leaders, direct dialogue with the voters, a bit of risk in a soundbite world.
I was thinking of Stephen Harper, the man who claims to be in tune with the "Tim Horton's crowd", the hockey dad, he who represents "ordinary" Canadians. The polar opposite of the ivory tower Liberals, a grassroots leader who prides himself on a common touch approach to government. If all the bullshit we hear is true, why is that Stephen Harper doesn't speak directly WITH Canadians? During the election, Harper rejected a CBC interview that included questions from Canadians, only agreeing to appear if he could control the content. As a matter of fact, I can't think of ONE instance that Stephen Harper has been a part of any forum, wherein he has real input from voters.
I haven't seen any columns asking the question, or drawing the comparison, but it's a striking one. Why is Stephen Harper afraid to face the Canadian people? Why is Harper so afraid, that not only will he not schedule any interaction, but he'll go so far, as to threaten to bow out of any appearance that doesn't allow him COMPLETE message control? Has anyone ever seen one voter approach Stephen Harper and ask a question? How can you claim to represent the "Tim Horton's" crowd, when you won't dare enter the establishment? The aloof professor has no problem wading into the crowd, no issue being put on the hot seat, facing the people, matter of fact seems downright comfortable.
Has Harper ever been "grilled"?