NEWS

Clark challenges Dix to one-on-one debate

04/09/2013 06:09 EDT | Updated 06/09/2013 05:12 EDT
B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has challenged NDP leader Adrian Dix to a televised one-on-one debate, but Dix has turned it down.

The Liberal leader said she has accepted "without conditions" a media invitation to debate Dix in a 90-minute townhall on May 6, just eight days before British Columbians vote in the provincial election.

"Bring it on because this election isn’t just about who is going to secure our economic future for our kids. This election is about leadership," Clark said.

Dix says he will only participate in debates that include the leaders of the Green Party and the B.C. Conservatives.

"I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to put forward these phony election-time challenges... I don't think it's my right to exclude [the other party leaders] from the opportunity to make their case just because the NDP is doing well right now," Dix said.

The proposed May 6 townhall would be in addition to a four-way all-party debate.

But Clark says a one-on-one makes sense because, in the end, they are the only two leaders who could become the next premier and the NDP’s stand on several key issues is unclear.

"So it’s important for British Columbians to see where the two leaders stand, get a feel for who we are, what leadership skills we bring to the table," Clark said.

"I can tell you this... On May 6, I will be there. And I hope I am not the only one," she added.

Riding no-show

Last night, the B.C. Liberals held a fund raiser which Clark called the most successful political fundraiser in B.C. history.

The same evening, Clark skipped an all-candidates debate in her riding of Point Grey, which Clark only won by several hundred votes in a byelection.

Vancouver-Quilchena candidate Andrew Wilkinson arrived to take her place, but was not allowed to speak.

Clark says there is no precedent requiring her to attend all-candidates debates. She says she won't attend other future all-candidates debates, but focus on head-to-heads with NDP Leader Adrian Dix.

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