Conservative leadership candidates prep for first official party debate in Edmonton

conservative debate

Six candidates competing to become the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada will meet on stage tonight for the first of two official debates.
    
The event in Edmonton comes less than a week after five out of the six contenders put on a feisty performance during an unofficial debate in Ottawa, where much focus was paid to fighting COVID-19 mandates and the recent convoy protest in the nation's capital.
    
Tonight, candidates will field questions on topics such as the future of energy, the environment, law and order, the cost of living and the North.
    
This debate will feature Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., who chose to sell party memberships last week instead of attending the Ottawa event.
    
His opponents include longtime MP Pierre Poilievre, who Brown recently criticized for offering up what he called ``wacky investment advice'' for having said that the cryptocurrency Bitcoin was a solution to inflation.
    
Poilievre also found himself on the defensive last week against fellow MP Leslyn Lewis, who laid into him over the authenticity of his support for those opposing pandemic mandates, as well as his position on social conservative issues.