09/11/2019 16:41 EDT | Updated 09/11/2019 23:16 EDT

Maxime Bernier Is Counting On Federal Debates To Raise People's Party Popularity

The party leader launched his campaign at the office of Doug Ford's sister-in-law and People's Party candidate Renata Ford.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, at the launch of his campaign on Aug. 25, 2019 in Sainte-Marie, Que.

TORONTO — The leader of the fledgling People’s Party of Canada says public awareness of the party is still low and he’s counting on appearing in debates to garner attention in the election.

Maxime Bernier says that he is “optimistic” that an upcoming decision by the Leaders’ Debates Commission on whether he can participate in the official election debates will be in his favour.

Bernier launched his party’s election bid at the campaign office of one of his star candidates, Renata Ford, the widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and sister-in-law to Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Earlier today, Justin Trudeau asked Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, starting a 40-day campaign.

Polls suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are in a close race for the most seats in the House of Commons, while the NDP and the Greens are fighting for third place.

Bernier launched the People’s Party of Canada in September last year after breaking from the Conservatives, and it was officially recognized by Elections Canada in January.

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