The moderator for the debate is David Akin, parliamentary bureau chief for Sun Media. He is currently giving a short introduction on the riding of Ottawa Centre as stragglers continue to file in. They seemed to have run out of extra chairs and so people are now standing at the back of the room or sitting on the floor.
Questions for this debate were sent in by students and have been chosen by the event organizers. Akin is introducing the candidates. The Liberal, Conservative, NDP, and Green parties are represented in the full debate. Stuart Ryan of the Communist Party of Canada is also in attendance but not part of the full debate. He will only be giving an opening statement. Dean T. Harris, the Libertarian candidate is also in attendance. He will also only be giving an opening statement because he only recently joined the race and informed the event organizers late that he would like to attend.
First question for candidates is on what they will do to help youth find the jobs that they need.
NDP candidate Paul Dewar says NDP has nine members of parliament in their 20s. And one of them brought forward a plan for getting rid of unpaid internships to the House of Commons. He says the NDP is fighting for a "fair wage as a minimum wage and that's $15 an hour."
Conservative party candidate Damian Konstantinakos says every person in the country will have money coming off their cheque if the other parties come into office. He says the party will continue to add benefits and innovation funding so businesses can lean on this to develop and grow their businesses, and that will lead to more jobs in the Ottawa area.
Catherine McKenna for the Liberal party says this issue is a huge problem and the Liberal party has a concrete plan. They will invest $1.3 billion in the next three years. She argues this is more than the NDP party but Dewar shook his head and she said she would be happy to talk about the numbers more afterwards. She argues against the $15 minimum wage policy the NDP is fighting for.
The Green Party candidate Tom Milroy says they believe the government must facilitate collaboration between industry and education institutions.
There will now be a discussion about the answers given to this question.
Konstantinakos is now rebutting against both the Liberal and NDP arguments which gets mixed reaction from both the candidates and the crowd.
McKenna and Dewar are going back and forth in a somewhat comedic argument. Dewar keeps on cutting McKenna off.
McKenna says we need to spend the money now and help youth now which gets a roaring applause from the crowd.
Things are getting pretty heated now as Milroy calls out the Conservative party saying they don't talk to anyone and don't collaborate.
Both the NDP and Conservative parties are attacking the Liberal party in this final lightning round on this topic. They keep bringing up that the Liberal party has yet to provide a proper fiscal framework and don't have the numbers on what they will be spending on.
Dewar for the NDP continues to cut off McKenna the Liberal candidate and not let her get her points across.
Second question is on homelessness in Ottawa and affordable housing.
The candidates are all shaking their heads at the response from Konstantinakos on spending on affordable housing.
One hour into the debate and there are still several people standing at the back, although there is an empty seat right beside me that no one decided to claim. So I decided to claim it for my camera and recorder.
Dewar suggests a national housing strategy which leads to applause from the audience as well as Milroy, the Green party candidate.
It again seems to be NDP vs Liberal and Green vs Conservative as the rebuttal for the second question begins. McKenna and Dewar are getting really heated. McKenna demanding an answer "Yes or No!"
The third topic is a big one that is always a widely-debated topic: climate change and subsequent spending.
Audience speaks out against the Conservative, Konstantinakos, and his argument. Several people yelled back "Noo!" in disagreement.
McKenna says we need to tackle this problem for the next generation. She pleads we need to do this for our kids because who knows what we will be leaving behind.
Big round of applause for McKenna as she argues with Konstantinakos. The audience seems to be on the side of the Liberal candidate on this topic.
Milroy, the Green party candidate, is having a good time and constantly cracking jokes. The crowd seems to be a big fan of him as he begins his speech on climate change.
Another heated argument between the Conservative and Liberal candidate seems to be looming.
Final question of the night is about more female opportunities in politics and leadership roles.
All candidates on the same page saying more women are definitely needed in politics and they will give more opportunities to encourage this.
Akin doing a good job at making sure the candidates don't go over time and they all have an equal time to talk. He decides to slip in one more question. The question is on making Ottawa Centre the pride of Ottawa and the national monuments, infrastructure, and construction in the riding.
Dewar says there needs to be local representation, meaning the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau should choose one member to sit on the board of the National Capital Commission (NCC.)
Konstantinakos says he doesn't agree with that idea because the council member will only be concerned with their ward.
McKenna and Milroy argue the NCC isn't functioning properly and are run by Conservatives who do whatever their party wants them to do. McKenna gets a large applause from the crowd in what seems to be a pro-Liberal audience. Or they are at least louder.
The closing statements will now be taking place with Harris of the Libertarian party getting the first opportunity to speak.
Milroy says show David Suzuki some love and vote for the Green Party of Canada.
McKenna for the Liberals encourages everyone to vote and that everyone has a real choice and can make a huge difference by their vote.
Konstantinakos says the Conservatives are focused on keeping money in the pockets of Canadians and they will continue to make "smart policies."
Current member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre Paul Dewar gets the final word.
I will not be predicting who won this debate as a lot of news organizations try to do. I will say however that by audience applause, the Liberal party candidate McKenna seemed to be the favourite.
Akin concludes the debate by thanking all of the candidates.
Thank you for following along with the debate. The candidates will be back at Carleton on Sept. 29 for another all-candidates debate hosted by the Carleton University Students' Association and the Graduate Students' Association.
Have a great night!