The Harperites claim that the standard leaders debate is stuffy and boring. Steve Sullivan suggests that there is a way to spice up the debates. Instead of Harper debating Trudeau, Mulcair and May, Sullivan suggests that Harper go one on one with some other opponents:
What if outgoing Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers debated Harper on the impact of his tough-on-crime policies? Sapers could calmly explain in detail what happens when you fill Canada’s prisons to the breaking point – the overcrowding, the violence, the lack of counselling and monitoring for convicts released directly into the community without parole.
Sapers could ask Harper why he targeted a small group of people with mental health issues who have committed heinous crimes — but refuses to deal with the growing population of inmates with mental health issues in our federal prisons getting no treatment and being held in solitary confinement. The Mulroney moment of the debate might go something look like this: “Mr. Prime Minister, Ashley Smith went to a provincial institution as a teenager for throwing crabapples and she left a federal prison in a body bag. You have a choice, sir. How many more Ashleys will it take before you do choose to act?”
Or there could be a debate between the prime minister and Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault:
What about a head-to-head between Harper and the information commissioner his government stabbed in the back, Suzanne Legault? She’s all business and she’d be a fearsome opponent. I can imagine her reading out statements a younger Harper made about open government, and then detailing his own disgraceful record on government information control and message-management. Then she could go in for the kill and tackle him over the budget omnibus bill clause that would retroactively change the law on gun registry data to make destroying the data legal — even though Legault has said it was an illegal act when the RCMP did it.
She could explain to him that no judge anywhere in the nation would accept the PM’s claim that trying to go back in time to reverse the effect of a law amounts to merely closing a “loophole” — that being prime minister doesn’t give him the keys to his own personal Tardis. That would be a hoot to watch.
But most entertaining of all would be a debate between Harper and Mike Duffy:
But since we’re daydreaming … who would be the perfect Harper debate opponent, the rhetorical Rhonda Rousey who would leave the PM flat on the map and tossing in the towel? Why, Mike Duffy of course. The last time the two appeared on stage together Duffy was throwing nothing but underhand; this time it would be hardball, drilled right at Harper’s head. Televise it live and you’d have a ratings monster. (The Conservatives could run Economic Action Plan ads during the breaks, so that it wouldn’t be a dead loss for them.)
I suspect the prime minister would frantically search for the nearest closet.