NDP leadership hopefuls pitch members for support in final public debate

The marathon race to become the next leader of the federal NDP is ramping up as the four remaining candidates faced off in Vancouver on Sunday for the last official debate of the campaign.

Federal politicians Charlie Angus and Guy Caron appeared on the stage alongside Ontario legislator Jagmeet Singh, eager to set themselves apart from each other a week before voting is slated to begin.

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton is expecting twins in early November and appeared by video feed because of flying restrictions related to her pregnancy.

There was considerable overlap between the four campaigns as the leadership hopefuls lambasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government on everything from renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement to dealing with rising economic inequality and addressing climate change.

Diversity issues also came up as Ashton commended Singh, who is Sikh, for his handling of a racist heckler who interrupted a town hall meeting.

A viral video of the incident shows a woman accusing Singh of promoting Shariah law and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, as Singh tells her he supports her and will not be intimidated by hate.