WATCH: Conservative leadership contenders seek to appeal to party's heartland

An appeal to families, an appeal to values, an appeal to the oilpatch and an appeal to Edmonton Oilers fans, Conservative leadership hopefuls are in the party's heartland, and going straight for its heart.

Thirteen of the 14 candidates for the leadership gathered Tuesday to debate a range of issues in Edmonton, while just a few blocks away, the holdout was holding his own gathering with party members.

Kevin O'Leary sat out the bilingual debate, citing his dissatisfaction with an all-candidates format that he considers ineffective.

At the outset of the debate, each candidate gave a brief opening statement aimed at setting themselves apart from the others.

Lisa Raitt, who opened the proceedings, alluded to that challenge when she joked about how she and her rivals "violently agree" on the same policies, stressing her connections with ordinary Canadians.

Kellie Leitch seized on a policy that many disagree with, focusing on her promise to screen everyone coming to Canada for so-called Canadian values like generosity and hard work.

RELATED

WATCH: Kellie Leitch's strange campaign video