A final conservative debate that will not go down in history

The three candidates who presented themselves in a very dull final debate for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party did little to attack each other, save for criticism of Justin Trudeau or the race’s perceived leader, Pierre Poilivere, who was conspicuous by his absence. .

Organized in a complex of industrial estates on the outskirts of Ottawa near the airport, the party’s third official meeting brought together only former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Ontario federal deputy Scott Aitchison and former Ontario provincial deputy Roman Baber. Around the same table in a narrow room.

The organization has pledged to “encourage new and old members” with an event tied to its budget as guided by its conservative policies. He gave a debate without an audience, provided wide camera shots and suffered from some sound problems.

“We all agree, a true leader must present himself,” Jean Charest dropped in English as an attack on his main rival, Pierre Poilivre.

The message was simultaneously sent to social networks, where Charest clan to share Messages such as “Where’s Peter? and “Are you scared, brother?” “(“ Are you afraid brother? “), adopting the aesthetic of Internet memes.

Call to vote

Meanwhile, on the tech television set, Mr. Charest again presented himself as the only candidate capable of winning the next election, which he said could be called any day given the Trudeau government’s minority status. “You can put this team together,” he emphasized, pointing to the camera.

The former Quebec premier defended the attack on Atchison and Baber, who were trying to convince the public to keep them as their first choice on the ballot. The practice proved to be more dangerous in the second half of the debate held in Molière’s language.

The themes of health, transport and taxation, in particular, gave rise to generally agreed discourse on the need to defeat the Liberal Party at the next federal election.

At most, the candidates politely debated the merits of supply management in the dairy industry, a program of which Mr. Charest said he was the sole defender. Scott Aitchison emphasized the danger of dividing conservatives. Roman Baber hinted at his opposition to some health measures against COVID-19 and asked Justin Trudeau to imagine facing him at the next election, “or worse, Chrystia Freeland. »

“By the next election, I will speak French [aussi bien] than English,” Mr. Aitchison promised in his closing argument.

During the previous debate the exchange was characterized by a rivalry between candidates Pierre Poilever and Jean Charest. The two men have moved their attacks to the web, where they have been insulting each other for several months.

As of Wednesday, 150,000 Conservative members had already voted for their next leader, or about 22% of the roughly 678,000 members.

Better to do than argue

Two of the five candidates for leader had better things to show in the final debate: Ontario MP and front-runner Pierre Poiliev, as well as Ontario MP and candidate opposed to the legislation. Abortion, Leslyn Lewis.

Although the meeting was happening within a stone’s throw of Carlton’s riding, Pierre Poilievre declined his party’s invitation, arguing that he had crossed swords enough with his opponent during the race. His campaign has already mocked the organization of the only official debate in English in Edmonton. Mr. Poilivre was in Saskatchewan on Wednesday evening, where he derided the practice. “It looks like they’re playing a little card game,” he told his supporters.

The only Quebec elected official to support his campaign, Pierre Paul-Haas, said, there is On Wednesday he did not know if he himself was going to watch the debate, which he described as useless.

Candidate Leslyn Lewis also announced her absence from this last debate, citing a scheduling conflict with an event already scheduled for her campaign. Absent candidates were assessed a $50,000 penalty by the party.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who ran in other official debates as a candidate, was disqualified from the leadership race by Conservative Party officials in July. He is accused of “accepting donations from a company”, which is against Elections Canada laws, as well as irregularities in the sale of hundreds of membership cards.

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