Currently waiting for the debate to start, NDP canvassers handing out pamphlets for candidate Emilie Taman for Ottawa-Vanier.
Some of the topics that may be discussed include light-rail, affordable housing and economic development according to Green Party candidate Jean-Luc Cooke for Nepean.
Jim Watson tells the crowd that the debate will start exactly at 7pm. It will be taped and aired later tonight on Roger's English and French channels at 10 pm EST.
The debate has begun with Jim Watson's opening speech.
Today is a chance to hear from local candidates about important issues, will hear directly from party representatives from three different ridings, he said.
Mark Sutcliffe and Véronique Soucy are moderators for the debate.
The debate is bilingual, and candidates can speak in French or English or a combination of both.
Taman begins her opening statement, saying that we need a government we can trust to reverse the damage Harper has done.
McKenna's opening speech: The Liberal Party's platform is unique for many reasons. Only the liberal party is proposing serious new investments in infrastructure. This plan will start right away-not over 20 years like the NDP's promises. We will create thousands of jobs, and an infrastructure deficit.
Cooke's opening statement: Over the past five years as the GP's small business critic, I'm happy with the track record. I will be speaking on behalf of the other candidates in the area, and showing how the Green Party addresses municipal issues. We are a party of principle, and candidates of principle.
The candidates are asked about affordable housing in Ottawa.
Taman: The NDP is prepared to make investments in social housing and cooperative housing. The federal lands issue- there are opportunities to create further shelters to tackle homelessness.
Cooke: We should be tapping into local experts and resources to teach us how we can best implement a housing program. The Green Party will construct affordable housing units across the country.
Sutcliffe asks, would you collaborate with different levels of government to create programming?
McKenna: We just came out with a 200 million dollar innovation plan. We will invest in these centres and plan. The federal government has a huge role in innovation.
Taman: This is an example of an area where the conservative government has completely dropped the ball. We have the potential to be a robust knowledge economy.
Cooke: The federal government needs to send expertise, not just sign a cheque. Guidance and mentorship is what we need at an early stages from the federal government.
McKenna: Now's the time to increase taxes for large businesses. We want to create incentives for small business and large businesses.
A question for Taman is now coming from the video monitors.
The question is regarding the "Victims of Communism monument" Should it be moved somewhere else?
Taman: Our party has been very outspoken on this monument, the location is taking up prime federal land that was meant for the Federal Court of Canada. There was a lack of consultation with our stakeholders, and we would like to see this reversed.
McKenna: I've been active and vocal on how this site was chosen, and the lack of transparency of this government. Consultation should have been done with the residence of Ottawa Centre. We have to live with these decisions everyday.
Claps for McKenna after her response. Cooke notes that "We have a lot of supporters out here today."
Cookie: We are often "monument crazy", this memorial is out of scale, the location is inappropriate. As for the value of the monument, I leave that to the discretion of the people who designed it. You need to defer to the experts. We need NCC to be transparent, and the board needs to be more diverse.
Candidates discuss where a hockey arena could be placed in the city.
Cooke: The arena is all the way out in Kanata. We don't want to be spending taxpayer dollars on an arena just yet. It's probably about 10-15 years out.
Taman: Not to say that I oppose a hockey arena, but I wouldn't want to see development centred around a sporting venue. These sporting venues are private enterprises. We have to make sure we're careful with taxpayer dollars.
Claps follow Taman's statement. Stucliffe asks a follow-up question, what else could we add to that space?
Cooke comes in stating that open parkland would be a good idea, to applause from the audience.
Cooke: Maybe it's the green in me, but a park....you can take in the roses.
McKenna: We need to be thoughtful and ambitious about this. Let's not accept something mediocre.
Sutcliffe: The federal gov. doesn't spend as much on tourism as governments of other countries. How would you support the local tourist industry?
Cooke: They aren't doing the marketing I feel like they could be doing. Should be looking to Ottawa, and inside Ottawa.
McKenna: We will do something for 2017. 150th birthday. We need to be way more ambitious. We can make great things happen, but to do that we have to be at the table. Ottawa isn't just any other city, it's the capital.
Claps from the audience for McKenna's statement.
Taman: I have a project in mind for Ottawa-Vanier. Revitalizing the Byward market needs to happen, right now when you go there you mostly see parking. The market should be the heart and soul of tourist destinations in this city.
Taman: We need to encourage tourism in this country in general.
Cooke: What I would like to see in our federal government, is the NCC being our voice combined with the local municipalities.
Question: Do you think Ottawa's LRT should have a link with the airport, if so should the federal government pay for it?
Cooke: We're big on infrastructure. It should go to the airport, we will step up to make sure there's funding. LRT doesn't end at the city's boundaries, commuter regions should have access as well.
Taman: I don't think it's the role of a federal rep to decide whether light rail is going to the airport. The NDP is committed to be a partner with cities, but it's up to the City of Ottawa to decide. We are committed to ensure there are long term stable investments made. Our party will be making 2.7 billon dollars in Gatineau.
McKenna is interrupted by Taman while she is discussing infrastructure.
Question: Will Ottawa host an outdoor hockey game in 2017? Where should this game be held.
Crowd murmors about the amount of hockey questions being asked.
McKenna: Sounds like a good idea to me.
Cooke: I volunteer my backyard, I'll supply the hot chocolate.
Sutcliffe: Do you support local elected officials on the NCC board?
McKenna: We need to be fostering good relationships. We should have representation by the city of Ottawa and the city of Gatineau. We have to think seriously about governance issues.
Taman: It's clear there are governance issues within the NCC. It's clear that serious reform is necessary, in terms of the appointment process itself. It's imperative that we take the partisanship out of the appointments to the NCC. Decisions should be made transparently.
McKenna: We need to have an appointment process that we can trust, so Canadians can have faith in theirs bodies. It's great that 2/3 candidates up here are women.
Taman: We've seen under Harper a claim that appointments are unpartisan, but they aren't.
Sutcliffe: Are there projects you see the two levels of government (municipal and federal) work on together?
Taman: There will be room for federal leadership to keep initiatives on track.
McKenna: The federal gov. has abandoned leadership roles concerning the Ottawa River. It kills me that we have sewage going into the River. We can do so much more.
Cooke: We have three rivers here. We're going to be looking at floods, droughts. We have the experimental farm, we should be looking at ways to mitigate these issues.
Taman: I will ensure we will get the funding we need to get our city moving again. Historically Ottawa has been a Liberal town. But under years of Liberal governments, this city was never prioritized.
McKenna: After ten years of stagnation under Harper, we need ambitious change starting now. Only the Liberals are committed to making investments immediately. We need better housing, transit, we are the party who's willing to step up. We can tackle the infrastructure debt by spending.
Cooke: We believe taxes are lower on things we want to discourage, and increase on what we want to encourage. We are not simply a gov town. There's high tech, there's industry. Elect candidates of principle.
The debate has ended, candidates shake hands.