08/05/2015 03:36 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 05:59 EDT

Laureen Harper Campaigns Solo As Husband Preps For Debate

TORONTO —  Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen, picked up the baton today on the Conservative leader's re-election campaign in the politically critical Greater Toronto Area.

She set out on the campaign trail as her husband hunkered down with advisers to prepare for Thursday's leaders' debate.

Laureen Harper and her daughter Rachel greeted dozens of party supporters and posed for photos at the campaign office for Tory candidate Costas Menegakis in the suburban riding of Richmond Hill.

Harper's clan — including his son and daughter — have so far featured prominently during partisan rallies and media photo ops.

Laureen Harper told the crowd that she and her husband appreciate the work of supporters on the ground.

The Toronto region is a critical battleground for Canada's three principal parties, and is likely to play a major role in determining who forms the next government.

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