Can you win a debate that you never attended? Brampton Mayor and Conservative Party of Canada leadership competitor Patrick Brown seems to think so.
The so-far cagey candidate refused to attend last week’s debate held by the Canada Strong & Free Network, calling it “eye-roll-generating political theatre.”
It was the first chance Canadians have had to see all candidates square off against each other — excluding Brown.
The debate, which hundreds of thousands of Canadians viewed since airing on May 5, included candidates Pierre Poilievre, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber, and Scott Aitchison.
As for Patrick Brown, he claims that he was outselling memberships in Atlantic Canada instead of participating.
“Some are saying I won last night, and I didn’t even participate. That debate was a two-hour shouting match full of interruptions, mistruths, and over-the-top personal attacks designed to score cheap social media sound bites,” said Brown.
Brown did not explain who exactly was saying that he won the debate but did proceed to take shots at race front-runner MP Poilievre.
“Look, Pierre Poilievre set the tone for this race when he launched vicious attack ads against fellow Conservatives as soon as the campaign began, further dividing the party. And I know why he did. Once again, he’s getting bad advice from the same people who paved the way for Justin Trudeau’s 2015 majority government victory,” said Brown.
The debate quickly erupted in hostility among some candidates, with Lewis claiming that Poilievre did not support the trucker protests until it was convenient to do so and Poilievre attacking Charest for his work for Huawei.
The Counter Signal Editor in Chief Keean Bexte confronted Charest about his Huawei support soon after the debate ended.
“Canadians are curious, how much money did you take from Huawei? Was it six figures?” asked Bexte.
“I’m not going into that. I mean, that’s now an old story. And all the work I did in my lifetime, I never did anything that was contrary to the interest of my country,” said Charest.