3 of 5 Conservative candidates to attend tonight’s final party debate

No audience, no podium, only three of the five candidates running to lead the Federal Conservative Party appear.

These are the circumstances of the party’s final official debate tonight in Ottawa before the winner is announced on September 10th.

Attendees included former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Ontario Provincial Assemblyman Scott Ichison, and Roman, a former state legislator whose Doug Ford was fired from the caucuses for his opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns.・I’m Baber.

Instead of standing on individual podiums, the three will be placed around the table at the event.

Moderated by the party leader, the event is divided into two 45-minute rounds. Candidates answer questions in English in the first section and switch to French in the second half.

Charest applauded the party’s decision to make the event bilingual, but doing so would undoubtedly pose a challenge for Aitchison and Baber, who do not speak fluent French.

Topics to be covered include climate change, indigenous peoples, leadership, healthcare, and rural Canada.

The party’s decision to organize a third debate after two official debates held in May included two candidates, Pierre Polivre and Leslyn Lewis, who decided not to attend. It drew sharp criticism from some within the party.

Polivre’s campaign issued a sharply worded statement after the party made the call.

A long-time member of parliament and recognized as a frontrunner in the election campaign, he said he would remain focused on getting members to fill out ballots, ignoring previous official English-language debates. Music, which she denounced as an “embarrassment” for asking candidates personal questions about their favorite streaming shows.

Lewis’ campaign said last week that he would not be attending the party and that details about the format and questions were lacking despite attempts to find out more.

Luis, a rookie MP who is still learning French, has put pressure on the party in an open letter about whether the event will address issues like the World Economic Forum, calling for an inquiry into federal pandemic response and abortion. . About party members.

Under party rules, Poilievre and Lewis risk a $50,000 fine for skipping the official debate. Money will be taken from the $100,000 compliance deposit candidates submitted to enter the race.

Instead of participating in tonight’s debate, Lewis plans to spend the night campaigning on Prince Edward Island while Pollyvre is in Saskatchewan.

The debate will be the last opportunity to see candidates pitch before lawmakers turn in their ballots, according to the party.

Thousands of mail-in ballots have already been returned and the party is processing them.

Polivre criticized the third debate for being a hindrance to its efforts to win votes, but Charest’s team saw it as a key opportunity to convince members to pick him as their first choice. I regard it as

Last week, the party announced the final tally of the number of members eligible to vote in the contest, saying a record-breaking 679,000 people will be able to fill out the ballot.

That’s more than double the number of members the party boasted when former leader Erin O’Toole was elected in 2020.

One of the states with the highest growth in membership sales was Quebec, a key battlefield for both Charest and Poilievre.

According to recently released funding figures, Poilievre raised over $4 million in the second quarter of this year, while Charest raised almost $1.4 million.

Stephanie Taylor

canadian press