Four leaders square off in first televised debate of federal election campaign

Two of the four leaders set to face off tonight in the first televised debate of the federal election campaign went out ahead of the event to drum up support.

The French debate on TVA, one of Quebec’s most-watched networks, comes at the mid-point of the campaign and could prove crucial to the outcome on Sept. 20.

Only four leaders – the Liberals’ Justin Trudeau, the Conservatives’ Erin O’Toole, the Bloc Quebecois’ Yves-Francois Blanchet and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh – will take part.

The Green party’s Annamie Paul and the Peoples’ party’s Maxime Bernier were not invited to participate.

The TVA debate was seen as pivotal in the 2019 campaign.

Then-Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s evasiveness on the issues of abortion and medical assistance in dying was widely seen as halting early Conservative momentum, ultimately enabling Trudeau’s Liberals to eke out a minority win.

The performance of Blanchet, a newcomer to federal politics at the time, was also credited with giving new life to the Bloc Quebecois, which helped rob Trudeau of a second majority mandate.


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