According to a press release fired off from Bob Rae’s leadership campaign to Macleans last night:
The Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) is hosting a leadership candidates’ forum with Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff and Dominic Leblanc on Sunday afternoon. The party has indicated the debate will be closed to the media, but is prepared to open the debate to media if all campaigns agree. The Leblanc campaign agreed, but the Ignatieff campaign, as of 8:00 pm Saturday, refused to open the session to media.
Unsurprisingly (and quite rightly in my opinion, I might add) Rae has refused to attend the forum unless it’s opened to the media:
Liberal Leadership hopeful Bob Rae will not participate in the leadership candidate’s forum… unless the campaign of Michael Ignatieff agrees to withdraw its objection to opening the debate to the media, and its suggestion the debate be cancelled if a closed encounter cannot be agreed upon.
“This isn’t a good note on which to start this race, and I think Liberals will be disappointed,” said Rae. The Rae campaign has called for a series of many open debates, starting immediately, across the country.
“I am calling for open debates, and I think we have to start right now, this weekend,” Rae said.
Hmmm. Yes, I would say that “disappointed” is putting it mildly. This secretive, closed-door, media-averse attitude and lack of transparency is precisely the sort of thing that so many people find thoroughly obnoxious about Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Why was conceived of by the LPC as a closed session in the first place? And why is Michael Ignatieff so resistant to having it opened up? What is he afraid of being said on the record?
What a crummy start to the race. Way to go Liberals!