OTTAWA — The federal Green party is still holding out hope for an English-language campaign debate aired by the major television broadcasters — and it says Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe should be there.
The Greens are calling on CBC, CTV and Global to invite Duceppe, in keeping with the principle that any leader with MPs elected under their party banner should be asked to take part.
It marks the latest effort by the Green party — whose leader Elizabeth May is already invited — to revive interest in an event that may not happen at all.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has indicated he will not take part and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says his participation is contingent on Harper being there.
The absence of two leaders could scuttle the debate, long a campaign fixture viewed by several million people.
However, Green party spokesman Julian Morelli says he's been assured the event will go ahead as long as Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau agree to participate.
"It's ridiculous if we don't have a nationally televised English debate," he said.
"If you believe in democracy, then you believe all voices should be heard."
National television exposure alongside the other parties is crucial for the Greens, with their modest advertising budget and just two seats in the last Parliament.
The five main leaders took part in a French-language exchange last week. In addition, private organizations have organized debates involving some, but not all, of the leaders.
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