A dozen Conservative leadership candidates took the stage in Saskatoon Wednesday night for the first debate of the contest.

The debate started at 7 p.m. ET and ran for two hours. It was the only solely English-language debate, with three bilingual debates and one French debate to come.

Hours before the debate, Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer announced he paid the full $100,000 required to enter the race -- a $50,000 fee plus a $50,000 compliance deposit. That means he has access to the party’s membership list, which will make it easier for him to campaign. It’s also a sign he has raised a significant amount of money in a race with a limited pool of donors but a large number of candidates.

Scheer is the second candidate to pay the full fee. Ontario MP Michael Chong was the first. Chong paid off his fees almost two months ago.

Conservative Party members will choose a new leader on May 27, 2017. That person will take over from interim leader Rona Ambrose and succeed Stephen Harper.

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