01/15/2012 05:35 EST | Updated 03/16/2012 05:12 EDT

NDP Leadership Race: Montreal Debate Sees Candidates Discuss Quebec's Place In Canada

MONTREAL - NDP leadership hopefuls gathered in Montreal today for a debate that touched on Quebec's place in Canada, the French language, and the challenges facing urban centres.

Seven of the eight candidates vying to replace the late Jack Layton as party leader were in attendance.

Thomas Mulcair, Brian Topp, Niki Ashton, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash and Martin Singh took part in the debate.

Romeo Saganash didn't attend.

The debate was held in riding which once belonged to ex-Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and was won by the NDP during last May's surge.

Under Layton's leadership, Quebec delivered more than half the party's 103 seats won in the federal election.

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