Harper not interested in national English debate proposed by TV consortium

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reiterated he will not take part in a national English debate that would be broadcast by the major TV networks.

GROSSE-ILE, Que. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reiterated he will not take part in a national English debate that would be broadcast by the major TV networks.

Harper was asked at least twice today why he would not participate in the multi-platformed event being set up by the consortium.

His response was that the party is ready to take part in a maximum of five debates, which he described as a record for federal campaigns in Canada.

The prime minister was speaking at an event in Grosse-Ile, about 100 kilometres from Quebec City.

Conservative party spokesman Kory Teneycke has said the party firmly rejected the consortium’s proposal two weeks ago and selected alternative debates.

As of Thursday, the Conservatives were already on board for four debates being organized by three news organizations and a Toronto-based private foreign policy group.

The NDP, Liberals and Green party reached an agreement in principle Thursday with the television consortium that has traditionally organized the election debates. It provides for two national broadcasts with simultaneous translation.

The consortium includes CBC’s French and English networks, Global News and CTV.