This election the rules change, largely because someone had a hissy fit over the idea of facing another opposition leader.
Harper said letting May participate in the debates would be in essence allowing a "second Liberal candidate" to participate, which he called "fundamentally unfair."
Oh please. Give me a break. May isn't a 'dark horse' alternate Liberal leader. That's a complete crock of crap - another meaningless meme that the HarperCon$ have invented to sneer with.
What is really interesting is how closely the NDP is parroting Mr. Harper on this one:
NDP campaign spokesman Brad Lavigne confirmed late Monday that party leader Jack Layton had said he wouldn't attend the debate if May were allowed to participate.
"We believe that as someone who's endorsed Stéphane Dion to be the prime minister of Canada, she has endorsed Liberal candidates throughout the country," Lavigne said.
"We said that if the Liberals were going to have two representatives, we would not accept the invitation."
Uh huh. I'll tell you what, Mr. Lavigne. If you can show me that the Liberal and Green parties are in fact one in the same, then I'll accept what you are claiming. Inferring something is not the same as proving it is the case.
Personally, I think both Mr. Layton and Mr. Harper are just flat out scared of Ms. May eviscerating their policies in a public debate.
All that said, the current format for the "Debates" is a bad joke. It's not a debate - it's at best a subset of question period, with the spotlight on the four party leaders. In terms of meaningful debate, you might as well watch four chimpanzees fight over a banana.