08/28/2019 12:36 EDT | Updated 08/28/2019 13:09 EDT

Liberals Undecided If Trudeau Will Be In 1st Leaders’ Debate

Tories have accused the Liberal leader of “hiding” from two debates.

Sean Kilpatrick/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on during a closing press conference following the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France on Aug. 26, 2019.

OTTAWA — The Liberals have not confirmed if Justin Trudeau will attend or be a no-show to the first federal leaders’ debate next month. 

That debate, sponsored by Maclean’s magazine and Citytv and hosted by journalist Paul Wells, will take place Sept. 12 in Toronto. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have all confirmed their participation.

“The Liberal party has committed to participating in the commission’s debates,” spokesperson Braeden Caley said Wednesday, referring to two official election debates to be hosted by a partnership of media outlets, including HuffPost Canada, in October.

Watch: Maxime Bernier tells party faithful he will make it into the leaders’ debates


Asked if Trudeau would attend the Maclean’s and Citytv debate or the planned Munk debate on foreign policy on Oct. 1, Caley said the party is still mulling its options.

“Other organizations have also started to express interest in holding debates or forums, but we have not yet made any new commitments or decisions.”

Scheer and May have also confirmed their participation in the Munk debate, while Trudeau and Singh have yet to announce their plans.

“We’re still trying to make the Munk debate work, we haven’t confirmed our attendance yet,” said NDP spokesperson Melanie Richer.

Tories launch new attack

Uncertainty over Trudeau’s attendance in the Maclean’s/Citytv and Munk debates has inspired a fresh Conservative attack against the Liberal leader.

Conservatives released a press release Tuesday suggesting Trudeau is “hiding” and “running away” from debates ahead of the next election. “Just because Trudeau has a lot to run away and hide from doesn’t mean he should,” it read.

Meanwhile, Liberals are also accusing Scheer of avoiding questions about his stances on same-sex marriage and abortion.

The attacks come days after both Liberals and Conservatives revealed new ads where both leaders wore light blue button-up shirts to introduce their parties’ campaign slogans.

Seemingly inspired by the same directional theme, Liberals settled on “Choose forward” while the Tories picked “It’s time for you to get ahead.”

Greens have drawn from the same pool of inspiration with theirs: “Not left. Not right. Forward together.” It’s similar to the one currently used by U.S. Democratic presidential nomination candidate Andrew Yang.

The NDP is expected to unveil its official slogan in a new TV ad next week. The party told HuffPost that it will be new and different from the “On your side” and “A new deal for people” taglines used in recent fundraising and outreach campaigns. 

With files from Althia Raj