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Poilievre Will Skip Next Conservative Leadership Debate Hosted by 'Laurentian Elite'

The campaign for front-runner Pierre Poilievre announced that he will not take part in the debate, facing the consequence of a fine.

Jenni Byrne, a member of Poilievre's team, released a statement on Twitter explaining his decision.

Conservative party rules spell out candidates must participate in official leadership debates or face an "automatic $50,000 penalty."

"Participation is mandatory and no substitution will be permitted," according to the rules.

Byrne's statement noted that Poilievre took part in the first two official debates in May, but criticized the English-language debate held in Edmonton because it featured sound effects and a series of questions about the candidates' taste in music and television.

"It was not the campaign's fault that the party's Edmonton debate was widely recognized as an embarrassment … candidates were given Ping-Pong paddles to hold up when they wanted to speak. It was more of a game show than a debate," the statement read.

"And it happened despite strong cautions to the party about both the moderator and format — all of which were ignored."

The debate was hosted by former political journalist Tom Clark, who Poilievre's campaign criticized as a "Laurentian elite liberal media personality."

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