And while Elizabeth May will not be there, the rest of the major party leaders will be in attendance.
I hope that they will have learned from their lesson in 2008. Attack Harper, band together, ignore his attempts to turn you against one another. There are ten thousand things they can hold up as evidence of Stephen Harper's malfeasance, if only they take this opportunity. Being in front of the cameras and confronted with difficult questions that he simply cannot dodge is Stephen Harper's worst nightmare.
These two debates are the only time in this election that he absolutely cannot campaign inside his protective shield of flunkies, cronies and sycophants. If Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe take this opportunity and work together, they can destroy him.
Oh, I hope they've learned. You can only fight Harper's lies by confronting him with the truth of his deeds. Expose him to Canada as the criminal and villain that he is and you can drag him down.
Harper is a wounded beast already in this campaign, snarling and roaring to everyone who can hear. He tells every crowd he speaks to (and oh, such carefully vetted crowds they be) just what they want to hear and hopes that no one else is paying attention. He wants only his own supporters to vote, doing everything he can to drive down turnout.
Even if forming a coalition is off the table for Michael Ignatieff, Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton, they should be banding together. Compared to the enmity Harper holds for them, their differences are small, and they are petty. Harper is a threat to all of them.
Work together. Drag him down. Tear out the lies that fuel his campaign and show them to the people.
They can hand Harper a ringing defeat tonight.
I hope they can see that.