Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said the leaders' debate will give him a chance to talk to Canadians directly.

Trailing in the polls, he said the Conservatives have spent a lot on ads to show him in a negative light, but in the televised debates on Wednesday and Thursday, the public will see the reality.

He made the comment Saturday while campaigning in Stoney Creek, Ont.

Dion mentioned the U.S. presidential candidates' debate Friday, pointing out that Barack Obama and John McCain were able to disagree without making accusations.

In contrast, the Liberal leader said the Conservatives have alleged:

  • That Dion wants a recession.
  • That the Liberals' green plan would undermine national unity.
  • That the Liberals back the Taliban.

The Liberals have rejected all three charges.

Dion said Republican candidate McCain advocates closing the American prison for accused militants in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S.  President George W. Bush supports the prision. The only westerner still at the facility is Canadian Omar Khadr.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not tried to bring Khadr to Canada, Dion said. 

"Why are you more pro-Bush than John McCain?" he asked.

He also criticized the Conservatives for their economic policies and government secrecy.