Poilievre says he will not participate in third Conservative leadership debate

With the Conservative Party leadership election less than two months away, candidates are busy doing all they can to garner support.

On Thursday, the party announced that a third official debate would take place in August, however not every candidate was thrilled by the idea of having to pause their campaign to take part. Leadership front-runner Pierre Poilievre quickly made it clear that he would be sitting this one out to focus on touring the country.

“Pierre Poilievre participated in two official Conservative Party debates, as well as the Canada Strong and Free Network debate in Ottawa,” the Poilievre campaign wrote in a statement.

“The first two debates were scheduled in the middle of the membership sales period, when candidates were travelling the country to recruit new members to the Party,” they continued, lamenting the fact that candidates had to put their travel plans on hold to participate.

They noted that the party’s third debate is proposed to take place “smack dab in the middle of the get out the vote period,” adding that Poilievre “will be on the road again, without interruption” to get members to fill out their ballots.

The Poilievre campaign then took aim at Jean Charest’s dismal event attendance, suggesting that the former Quebec premier wanted another debate in order to “use Pierre’s popularity with the members to bring out an audience he can’t get on his own.”

During the Canada Strong and Free Network debate, Poilievre and Charest sparred over the latter’s liberal record, with Pierre widely regarded as the stronger candidate.

The second official debate was criticized as “an embarrassment” for a number of reasons, namely the seemingly unimportant questions asked by the “Laurentian elite liberal media personality” chosen as moderator.

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