Peter MacKay takes heat for skipping Conservative leadership debates

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay is seen in this from an interview with CTV News.

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay is taking heat for skipping a pair of debates organized by grassroots party members.

Riding associations in both the Greater Toronto Area and British Columbia banded together to organize separate events for all four candidates to succeed Andrew Scheer.

MacKay had committed to attend the Toronto-area event in principle, but then had a conflict with the June 24 date.

He also turned down the invite to the B.C. event tonight; in a statement his campaign said he is focusing on communicating directly with party members and getting out the vote.

The debates are not mandatory for the candidates; the only ones they had to attend were those set up by the leadership organizing committee.

The party was forced to make that clear to members after fielding complaints about the B.C. debate specifically.