Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is willing to debate one-on-one in French with Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe on a Quebec television network.This is after Paul Martin challenged Gilles Duceppe to meet him on any street in Quebec, and then when Mr. Duceppe accepted - Mr. Martin backed away.
Liberal Leader Paul Martin has already rejected a similar suggestion from Duceppe.
"If Paul Martin refuses to stand up for Canada, Stephen Harper will," a Conservative strategist told the Canadian Press late on Tuesday.
The Conservative Party has long suffered in Quebec, regularly polling below 10%, and not holding a seat in some time. In the worst case example, that any confrontation with Gilles Duceppe does not improve CPC fortunes in the province, it does show Paul Martin to be full of wind when it comes to defending Canada against the separatists face-to-face.
Paul Martin can't do it. He'll lose.
He can't be subjected to the fact that the Liberal Party is the single reason the Bloc Québécois is so successful today.
Even Quebec Liberal Leader, Jean Charest, and ADQ Leader, Mario Dumont [Toronto Star, Why Harper win won't faze Charest], understand that there is another option for federalism in Quebec.
Hat tips a plenty:
Updated: Lord Kitchener's Own provides another viewpoint on this call for a 1 on 1 debate between Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe.
Updated x 2: Mr. Duceppe has indicated he will not debate Mr. Harper one-on-one, saying there is no point, since it was Mr. Martin who challenged him and it is him, that Mr. Duceppe wants to debate.