It's a full house at Colonel By Secondary School where the Ottawa-Vanier all-candidates debate is taking place. All five candidates have arrived, including David Piccini, who was absent at last night's debate at Rockcliffe Park Public School. Candidates are Mauril Belanger, the incumbent Liberal Party candidate, David Piccini of the Conservative Party, Emilie Taman for the NDP, Nira Dookeran for the Green Party and Libertarian candidate Coreen Corcoran.
Sorry, six candidates. Christian Legeais of the Marxist-Leninist Party is here.
Candidates are answering questions that were posted to the Beacon Hill Community Association website, including dealing with the economic disparity between constituents in Ottawa-Vanier and affordable housing. Moderator received applause from the crowd when he asked about partisan voting and for candidates to name a party policy that they disagree with.
Piccini said he is proud to be a member of the Conservative Party, which he said is the only party that gives a free vote of conscience in the House of Commons. He received a mix of laughter and mumbling from the crowd, and a shake of Taman's head.
Candidates asked what is the most important issue facing seniors. Belanger said it's affordable housing and health care, and the Liberal Party will increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Corcoran said it's important to keep seniors in their own homes for as long as possible. Taman said the question referenced the statistic that there are more seniors than children, and said we should bring back the long form census to continue obtaining those statistics. She agreed one of the biggest issues is affordable housing. Piccini said he agrees with Corcoran that seniors should be able to stay at home for as long as possible, which will be easier with products like tax free savings accounts.
Mic going back and forth between Taman and Piccini during the rebuttal periods for every question.
All candidates said they would repeal Bill C-51, except Piccini and Belanger. "This is the same government that is trying to collect more information from Canadians but is sharing less information with Canadians," Taman said to loud applause from the crowd. Piccini said we stand tall on the international stage against terrorists, and that the primary role of the government is to "ensure the security of Canadians," which received boos from the crowd. Belanger said the government has two roles: ensuring security and respecting the rights of citizens.
Dookerand said it's mind-boggling that the "bogus" niqab debate is being presented as an election issue. Huge applause from the crowd.
Candidates asked about scientific innovation, food banks, and the missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The debate audience is getting increasingly enthusiastic in their applause and in their booing.
Dookeran said there is no dichotomy between the economy and the environment.
Belanger said the Liberal Party will decrease Canada's dependence on fossil fuels. Libertarian candidate Corcoran said she finds that hard to believe because we have winter for more than six months of the year and green energies are not ready yet.
Taman said that when it comes to the environment, "you can't do worse than the Conservative government," but that the Liberal Party is not much better. She urged the crowd not to trust Piccini when he says gas emissions are going down, because that is "bogus." Piccini countered by saying that "when it comes to the economy, you can't trust the NDP," and said emissions are in fact going down.
Moderator said that due to the time and the heat in the room, it's time to wrap it up. Candidates are giving their closing statements.
Piccini closing statement getting lots of boos from the audience after he takes shots at Belanger failing in the riding. Dookeran said tonight has been a good debate, and she hopes that will continue in the House of Commons. And that's a wrap.