Skip to main content

The NDP has accepted The Globe's invitation to participate in a leaders' debate on the economy.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Two of the three major federal parties have accepted The Globe and Mail's invitation to participate in a leader's debate on the economy.

The Conservative Party said Stephen Harper will be part of the debate, which will be staged in Calgary in partnership with Google Canada.

The NDP, the Official Opposition, has also accepted The Globe's invitation in principle.

A precise date for the debate has not yet been set. The event will be open to all media and will be live streamed on, in partnership with Google Canada, and distributed through YouTube.

‎There are now at least three independently organized leaders' debates in the works, including one hosted by Maclean's magazine and another by French-language broadcaster TVA.

Mr. Harper's Conservatives kicked off a spat with major broadcasters including the CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV and Global last week when they announced they would refuse an invitation to participate in debates organized by the broadcasting consortium, instead opting for a variety of independent debates.‎ Kory Teneycke, a spokesman for the Conservative Party campaign, said in a statement that he hopes major broadcasters will cover the independent debates.

"We look forward to this opportunity for voters to compare our plans to keep the Canadian economy strong to the tax-and-spend plans of the Opposition."

The Liberals decried the Conservative Party's decision to reject debate invites from the consortium of major broadcasters.

"Unfortunately it seems the Conservatives once again, do not want the broadest number of Canadians to hear from Mr. Harper," Liberal Party spokesman Olivier Duchesneau said.

"This perfectly exemplifies why there is a need for an independent commission on debates. This kind of commission will be in our platform and we will bring forward legislation if we form government. Political parties and broadcasters should not be able to cherry pick debates on an ad hoc basis."