Local radio station Northumberland FM 89.7 organized an All Candidates meeting in Port Hope tonight. There were five candidates scheduled to debate with the Libertarian Candidate opting not to campaign, but five minutes before the meeting started, a seventh candidate showed up and asked to participate. Paul Cragg is a retired Medical Doctor and will be on the local ballot as the “Stop Climate Change party” candidate (more below). The meeting was well organized and as you’d expect from a radio station, had excellent sound. Retired lawyer John Hill was the moderator and asked questions provided by listeners to the station. Seventeen questions were asked with little overlap and included the hot issues of Hydro costs, the Green Energy Act, how will promises be paid for, what do you think of your leader and more.
The candidates participating in the debate were:
- Lou Rinaldi – Liberal (Lib)
- Jeff Wheeldon – Green party (Grn)
- David Piccini – Progressive Conservative (PC)
- Jana Papukoski – New Democratic Party (NDP)
- Derek Sharp – Trillium party (T)
Instead of providing a transcript (which would not be possible anyway), I have listed an abbreviated version of the questions with a sense of how the Candidates responded.
|1||Protecting natural resources against urban development||All except David (PC) agreed that the green belt should expanded. David emphasized the need to protect farmland and the need for affordable housing|
|2||The Province’s Debt||All agreed it was too high although details were fuzzy|
|3||The voting system (e.g. proportional representation)||All agreed that it should be reviewed but should be what people want. Jana (NDP) was strongest on wanting proportional voting and that we should not be scared of a minority government|
|4||If elected, would you follow constituent wishes or the party’s edict?||Lou (Lib), Jana (NDP) and David (PC) talked about how they would listen to the constituents. Derek (T) and Jeff (Grn) unequivocally said they would put constituents’ wishes ahead of their Party. They were both strongly against a whipped vote in Parliament.|
|5||What do you think of your leader? (my phrasing)||All praised their leader; David (PC) mentioned supporting Christine Elliott but said Ford had a strong team and stands up for the little guy. Jan (NDP) liked Andrea Horwath’s integrity; Lou (Lib) said his focus is on what’s right and not on the leader.|
|6||Should the sex education curriculum be changed?||Most said no but David (PC) and Derek (T) said there should have been more consultation and that parents have a right to have a say for their own children.|
|7||Should there be fewer School boards?||All said no except the Green Party (Jeff) which wants a merger.|
|8||Should the party control who is Candidate?||David (PC) spoke about the need for leadership; the others did not respond but simply criticized Ford’s actions on this.|
|9||What would you do to stop Solar farms going on Farm land?||This was blamed on the Green Energy Act which was defended by Lou (Lib). David (PC) said that the Green Energy Act bypasses Municipal processes and this must be stopped. All agreed there needs to be more consultation. Jana (NDP) said it’s almost as bad as opening up the green Belt – there are other places for solar panels.|
|10||Virtually a repeat of #9||Nothing additional|
|11||Kathleen Wynn vetoed a Municipal plan to increase HST to provide funding to municipalities||Jana (NDP) said that the previous government downloaded services but did not provide funding. Lou (Lib) said all parties agreed to the “veto”.|
|12||What can be done to improve Legal aid?||All agreed more should be done|
|13||What can be done about Hydro rates and excessive Directors’ Salaries?||All except Lou (Lib) agreed that rates need to be reduced – David (PC), Derek (T) and Jeff (Grn) had some specifics. Lou (Lib) said reduction cannot be done because Hydro lines need to be rebuilt – they are 50 years old. Only Jeff (Grn) addressed salaries with a proposal to cap the salaries in public companies.|
|14||What programs would be sacrificed to pay for promises?||No specific answers to this.|
|15||Do you support Go Transit to Northumberland?||All supported together with improving housing costs – Lou (Lib) said he has been working on this for 14 years and has had some success in the last year or so.|
|16||Do you support keeping the Firefighter’s Museum in Port Hope||All said it was a good idea and suggested they would help with grant applications.|
|17||What can be done to stop pollinators being killed?||It seems to be farmers against environmentalists. David (PC) supported farmers who did not want a specific pesticide banned.|
There were about 60 in the hall. The format included a one minute allowance at the end of the debate for each Candidate to summarize their case.
- Paul Cragg – Stop Climate Change – Paul said that there are two candidates in his party in the election – Ken Ranney in Peterborough- Kawartha and himself. Both are retired medical doctors who believe Climate Change is at a crisis point. He said that the party was founded 2 weeks ago. He said that at no point during the debate had anyone said the words “Climate Change”. He finished with: “Do not vote for me but for someone who will do something about it.”
- Derek Sharp – Trillium party – Derek said he does not support whipped voting and that there are two candidates that support this: “Vote for one of us”.
- Jana Papukoski – New Democratic Party. Jana asked that people look at what the parties shave to offer and to look at who benefits by what’s offered.
- David Piccini – Progressive Conservative. David said there was a clear choice between being more prosperous or putting us more in debt with no plan to get out of it.
- Jeff Wheeldon – Green party – Jeff said he had hoped someone would ask a question about Climate change, he said Climate change should be a high priority and also said that the Green party had a fully costed platform.
- Lou Rinaldi – Liberal – talked about his personal record of helping constituents.
The debate was recorded by Radio 89.7 and will be broadcast on Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00pm. This would be a good way to fill in the gaps from the report above.