Candidates vying for the top spot in the federal Liberal party are turning their attention westward as the race's first debate looms.
On Jan. 20, the candidates will converge in Vancouver for their first face-off in the contest to replace Michael Ignatieff as leader of Canada's Liberal party.
Nine people are standing in contention as of the Jan. 13 entry cutoff: Ottawa lawyer David Bertschi; former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon; Toronto public servanat Deborah Coyne; Montreal MP and former astronaut Marc Garneau; former Toronto MP Martha Hall Findlay; retired Canadian Forces officer Karen McCrimmon; Vancouver MP Joyce Murray; Toronto lawyer George Takach and Montreal MP Justin Trudeau.
On Tuesday, Garneau laid out his economic strategy, saying that more focus on engagement with China and the Asia-Pacific region is necessary since the country's economy has shifted to western Canada.
"If Canada is to succeed in driving a new vision of engagement with Asia, many pieces are required and only when all the pieces work together will we succeed," he said, during a speech in Vancouver.
Those pieces include creating "clear, concrete and transparent" foreign investment rules; investing in transportation infrastructure to ensure reliable rail and shipping routes to interested markets; protecting the environment to facilitate development that's in the interest of both communities and businesses; and partnering with Aboriginal communities.
Ottawa-based candidate Bertschi is also spending time making in-roads in the province prior to the debate. He was in Victoria Tuesday and will make his way up north following the Jan. 20 event, stopping in Prince George Jan. 22, 23 before heading to Dawson Creek.
The Liberal train will continue through town with Trudeau scheduled to make a stop in Prince George on Jan. 23.
Since the race officially began in mid November the only other candidate to visit town was Alex Burton, who ended up dropping out of contention three weeks after his Nov. 22 P.G. stop.