OTTAWA — It promises to be a quiet day on the hustings as the leaders of the main parties hunker down to prepare for the first debate of the federal election campaign.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Green party Leader Elizabeth May are not expected to attend any public events today as they hone their messages for Thursday's debate in Toronto.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe was not invited, so he will instead campaign in Fatima in eastern Quebec with Parti Quebecois Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau before visiting the community of Havre-Aubert.
Instead of the traditional two televised leaders' debates sponsored by a consortium of broadcasters, there will be a series of at least four debates during the campaign sponsored by a variety of sources.
Harper refused to take part in the consortium debates and Mulcair said he would not participate in debates where Harper is not present.
Thursday's debate will be hosted by Maclean's magazine. The other three, scheduled throughout the fall, will be hosted by the Quebec television network TVA, the Munk Debates and the Globe and Mail-Google Canada.
The Canadian Press