NDP leadership hopefuls square off in wide-ranging first debate

OTTAWA - Four candidates for leadership of the federal New Democratic Party are debating in Ottawa Sunday afternoon.

Guy Caron, Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton and Peter Julian are facing off in a 90-minute event expected to cover a wide range of issues.

But the first priority for all is to introduce themselves and set the stage for the respective campaigns.

Each used their opening remarks to give some of their biographical detail and sketch out broad themes for their vision for the party.

The NDP soared to a historic victory in 2011 under the leadership of Jack Layton to capture Official Opposition status in the House of Commons, but lost dozens of seats to the Liberals in 2015 under leader Tom Mulcair.

NDP members will select someone to replace him in October.