Layton, who faced protesters at an Ontario campaign event on Wednesday, conceded the issue had become a “distraction,” and said he did not want to continue “debating about the debate” until the election. “I have only one condition for this debate, and that is that the prime minister is there, because I want to debate the issues with him,” Layton said.
Kory Teneycke, Harper’s director of communications, confirmed Harper had also changed his mind, telling reporters that while the Conservatives still objected to May’s participation on principle, he would no longer oppose May’s inclusion. “We don’t think she should be there, but if the NDP have decided they’re changing their position, we will not stand alone,” he said. In an interview with CBC News, Tory campaign co-chairman David Emerson said the reversal was a case of the prime minister “reacting to changing circumstances.”
May says that “tens of thousands of Canadians came to her defence, with some staging protests or telephoning the TV networks in charge of the debates”. Really? What evidence was there of a protest of this scope? I joined a Facebook group (that was the vast extent of my public dissent), and it only has 209 members. Ah, hang on, clearly I joined the wrong group. This one has 6007 members, which is pretty good for being only a few days old.
Still, you’ve got to hand it to Mr. Layton and Prime Minister Harper–way to have the courage of your convictions.
On a related note, the UBC School of Journalism created NetPrimeMinister.ca, a Netvibes-powered aggregator of social media news and commentary about the election. They asked for my feedback, so my main complaint would be the lack of RSS feeds. Obviously Netvibes doesn’t want you to consume information that way, but it’s too bad that we can’t grab, say, a mega-feed for the entire site. Then you could filter it for mentions of your local candidate, a particular issue like ‘net neutrality’ or whatever.