Jean Charest got his final debate audience, but will the support he seeks follow?

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Jean Charest compared opponents who didn't show up to the federal Conservatives' final leadership debate to fish not wanting to swim.

But with six weeks left until a winner is named, the event was largely an opportunity for the ex-Quebec premier to fish for votes.

Charest had pressed the party to hold a third and final debate in the contest and applauded its decision to make it bilingual.

Veteran Conservative strategist Melanie Paradis says at this stage, Charest's only play is to try to appeal to as many supporters of other candidates as he can, in hopes they mark his name down on the party's ranked ballot.

Charest's path to victory is believed to be a narrow one and runs through Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Rudy Husny, a former Tory leadership candidate and political analyst, says Quebec is crucial for Charest to win, and points to fundraising figures that show his main rival, Pierre Poilievre, is not to be underestimated next to the province's former leader.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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