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Five Conservative leadership hopefuls readying for debate in Ottawa

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Five out of the six candidates vying for Tory leadership will appear on stage Thursday night for a debate before a room of conservative faithful.

It’s not an official leadership debate, but is being hosted by the Canada Strong and Free Network as part of an annual conference taking place in Ottawa.

Read more: Six candidates make the final cut for Conservative leadership race

The organization promotes conservative ideas and was founded by Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party of Canada – a precursor to the Canadian Alliance, which merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the current Conservative Party.

Pieces of that history may be on display during Thursday’s debate, as the race has already seen accusations fly over whether some candidates are truly “Conservative.”

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Appearing on stage will be Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber, Scott Aitchison and Jean Charest.

Patrick Brown is not attending, as his campaign says he is busy selling memberships before the June 3 deadline when supporters must be a member in order to vote in the contest.

Next week all six candidates must participate in the first of two official debates organized by the party.

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