Federal leaders back on the hustings after back-to-back debates

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are seen in this composite image. (Images via The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA - Federal party leaders are back on the campaign trail today after locking horns in two back-to-back leaders' debates.

It remains to be seen whether either Wednesday's French debate or Thursday's English debate moved the public opinion needle, with just 10 days to go before election day on Sept. 20.

Heading into the debates, polls suggested the Liberals and Conservatives were locked in a dead heat, with smaller parties poised to determine which of the main parties emerges victorious.

The English debate was fractious, its format widely panned for giving leaders little time to engage substantively with one another or to respond to barbs from rivals.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took umbrage with moderator Shachi Kurl, a pollster with the Angus Reid Institute, for a question he said suggested Quebec is racist and he later criticized Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for not coming to the province's defence.

Trudeau, who had rounded on Blanchet in Wednesday's French debate for questioning his devotion to Quebec, told reporters the format didn't give him a chance to respond.