Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has challenged Doug Ford to “at least three televised leaders’ debates” before the June 7 election and the Progressive Conservative leader has cheekily accepted.
“I accept Kathleen Wynne’s challenge to three televised debates. Let’s do the first one outside the jail where the senior Liberal operative will be spending four months,” Ford tweeted Wednesday, referring to the jail sentence for David Livingston, ex-chief of staff to former premier Dalton McGuinty.
Normally, there is one televised debate during the four-week campaign. It is organized by a broadcast consortium and airs simultaneously on different networks from the CBC Broadcasting Centre.
A Northern affairs debate is also held in Thunder Bay, but participation is voluntary. Only two of three major party leaders took part in the 2011 and 2014 elections.
Wynne’s challenge to Ford, delivered in a “Dear Doug” letter to him while he campaigned in Sudbury, came as she debates NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Green Leader Mike Schreiner Wednesday night.
“You will not be present,” she chided the PC chief, referring to the Black community debate moderated by the Star’s Royson James.
“Even more concerning, your campaign has so far failed to commit to your participation in any organized debate between party leaders prior to Election Day,” she wrote.
“This equivocation triggers real doubts about your willingness to invite genuine scrutiny of your policies and leadership,” said Wynne, who blasted Ford for taking the “unprecedented step of denying media dedicated transport and routine daily access during the campaign.”