Good Friday morning! It’s the end of week eight of the election campaign and three days before nominations close on Sept. 28. According to Equal Voice, there are 98 ridings without any female candidates among the Conservatives, NDP or Liberals; and 59 without Green or Bloc Quebecois candidates. In a newsletter yesterday, the organization committed to electing more women looked at the diversity among those women who were nominated. In the 33 ridings across the country made up of 50 per cent or more visible minorities, Equal Voice found that more than half of all candidates in those ridings were themselves visible minorities and 40 per cent were women. Of the non-visible minority candidates among the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals, only 21 per cent are women. The national average for women running among those three parties is 31.5 per cent. “Of course, while this trend is based upon an examination of only 33 ridings, it flies in the face of some commonly held stereotypes about visible minority communities being less open to women leaders. Further, it is in keeping with the political science literature in Canada which has documented that among visible minority MPs, women are better represented than they are in general,” Equal Voice wrote, noting also that among indigenous candidates, women make up more than 50 per cent. Overall, there are 53 vacancies left between the Conservatives and the Green Party. The Conservative have nine ridings with no candidate and the Greens 44. For an updated list of nominated candidates so far, visit The Hill Times website. In case you missed it Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May and Gilles Duceppe were in Montreal last night for the federal leaders’ French-language debate hosted by the broadcast consortium. Health care, the Senate, the economy and women’s rights, among other issues, were debated. The Niqab debate and whether women should be able to cover their faces during citizenship ceremonies also came up. The federal government lost its appeal at the Federal Court recently to force women to uncover at ceremonies and announced that it would take the issue to the Supreme Court. It’s a politically charged topic, especially in Quebec after the former Parti Quebecois government introduced the Charter of Quebec Values. “I understand it's a question that makes many people uneasy, but for me, the state is there to defend minority rights, and to defend the rights of women,” Mr. Trudeau said. In response, Mr. Harper said: “I will never tell my young daughter that a woman should cover her face because she is woman. That's not our Canada, that's not acceptable for me.” Mr. Mulcair, whose New Democratic Party is leading in Quebec polls, said that Mr. Harper was “playing a dangerous political game,” and that he should “attack the oppressor” not the woman. “Have the courage to do that,” he said. “But it's not by depriving these women of their citizenship and their rights that you're going to succeed in helping them.” Ms. May, the only female leader on the stage, said that the other leaders were creating a “fake debate” which had nothing to do with other important issues such as climate change, unemployment and the economy. “For women's rights, where is the inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women?” she said. Up next, the Munk Debates in Toronto, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 28. Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau will square off at Roy Thomson Hall starting at 7 p.m. Ms. May was not invited to the debate. Where the leaders are, day 55 Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will be campaigning in Quebec today. He will deliver remarks in Rivière-du-Loup, Que., at 1:45 p.m. He will be joined by Conservative candidates Bernard Généreux, running in Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup and Denis Lebel, running in Lac-Saint-Jean. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will also be campaigning in Quebec today. He will make announcement in Sainte-Catherine de Jacques-Cartier at 9:15 a.m. before heading to Quebec City to speak at the Fédération Québécoise des municipalités at 12:30 p.m. He will then meet with Quebec mayor Régis Labeaume at city hall at 2:30 p.m. Mr. Mulcair will then attend a rally at 7 p.m. at Le Concorde Hotel. Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau will be in Brampton, Ont., to make an announcement today at 9 a.m. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be doing media interviews in Montreal today before heading back to her Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C., riding. She will attend a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. hosted by Nature Canada and featuring artist Robert Bateman.