The Conservative Party of Canada held a final leadership debate Wednesday, though candidates Pierre Poilievre and Leslyn Lewis were not in attendance.
During Wednesday’s debate, Conservative leadership hopeful Jean Charest appealed to Tory voters, telling them: “I can win a majority government.”
He also said that the party needs to “gain the confidence of Canadians” in urban areas, as well as in Ontario and Quebec. He added later in the debate that Canadians will not elect a Tory government without “ a credible plan on the environment, resources and the climate.”
Speaking on the climate, candidate Roman Baber announced a plan to plant “half a billion trees.”
“I love trees. I love Canadian forests. Let’s try to capture most of our emissions naturally,” he said.
Leadership hopeful Scott Aitchison implored other candidates and Tory members to unite the party, telling potential voters: “Trudeau didn’t win the last election, we lost it.”
Lewis had expressed concerns about the need for another debate and in a recent open letter asked whether it would cover topics including abortion and the World Economic Forum, issues she said members are inquiring about.
Poilievre also said he would not attend, saying on social media he was focused on getting out the vote. Under Conservative rules, candidates who do not attend party debates will be fined $50,000. The decision to hold a third debate came after the party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee surveyed members.
The campaign is set to come to an end Sept. 10 when a winner will be announced in Ottawa.