Conservatives to hold final leadership debate on Aug. 3, despite objections from 2 candidates

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Conservative leadership candidates (left to right) Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis, Jean Charest, Roman Baber and Scott Aitchison. (The Canadian Press - image credit)
Conservative leadership candidates (left to right) Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis, Jean Charest, Roman Baber and Scott Aitchison. (The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Conservative Party of Canada will hold the third and final debate of its leadership race on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. ET.

The party informed members of the date in an email Thursday night — after candidate Pierre Poilievre said he wouldn't attend and rival candidate Leslyn Lewis expressed reservations.

Poilievre's campaign said he is focused on getting supporters to send in their ballots by the September deadline, while Lewis says she has a full schedule of meetings with members.

Poilievre's team also said the party was hoping to make up for the race's first English-language debate in May, which the campaign described as an "embarrassment."

Under party rules, candidates must attend official party debates or face a $50,000 fine.

A party spokesperson says the debate format remains under discussion.

"With less than two months to go before our next leader is announced, this event will provide a key opportunity for members to hone their decision on who they believe is the best fit to lead our party into the next election," said the email sent to Conservative members on Thursday.

The campaigns say they expect the event to be held in Ottawa.

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