Key Questions Raised at All-Candidates Meeting

About 70 people came to the all-candidates debate at the Cobourg Lions Community Centre last night.  Hosted by Retired Teachers Ontario, all five candidates responded to 16 questions as well as giving opening and closing statements.  Moderated by York Bell-Smith with time limits enforced, it was orderly and informative since the questions covered a good range of concerns.  If you haven’t already heard, the Candidates are: Liberal Kim Rudd – incumbent M.P.; Conservative  Philip Lawrence; Green Party Jeff Wheeldon; NDP Mallory MacDonald and People’s Party of Canada (PPC) Frank Vaughan.  See the links below for more on these candidates.  After the opening statements, each candidate was asked to respond to three questions posed by the Retired Teachers; these focused on seniors, their retirement income and Pharmacare. They then responded to questions from the audience.

Opening statements mostly covered who the Candidates were with some talking about their policies but more interesting was their responses to the questions.


Below is a summary with abbreviations of questions and responses.  The first three questions were from the Retired Teachers and the rest from the audience.  The sequence is in the order of answers.

  1.  What would you do to implement a National Seniors’ Strategy?
    1. NDP:  It’s already NDP Policy and is very important
    2. PPC:  Health care is not a Federal responsibility – their role is to get out of the way.
    3. Green:  This is already a Green Party Policy – we need to reduce partisanship
    4. Conservative: Costs for seniors would be reduced
    5. Liberal: Seniors’ issues often come up in Kim’s finance committee; the Liberal Government has a seniors’ caucus
  2. What would you do to make Retirement Income more secure?
    1. Liberal: The CPP has been boosted
    2. Conservative: There’s no substitute for a defined benefit plan and we will not support Bill C-27
    3. Green:  The Green Party would change the bankruptcy act to put pensioners at the top of the list
    4. Mallory: The NDP would end Pension theft (e.g. the OAS) and strengthen pensions
    5. PPC: Governments should not spend more than they take in.
  3. What steps will you take to implement Universal Pharmacare?
    1. PPC: The first step is to balance the budget; then empower Provinces to do whatever suits
    2. NDP: Would implement and pay for it by taxing the top 1% incomes (20,000 people) which would bring in $5B.
    3. Green: The Green Party supports this since it’s cheaper because you can negotiate prices.  Extra funds would be raised by closing tax loopholes.
    4. Conservative:  Instead of a tax and spend approach, Conservatives would focus on those in need.
    5. Liberal:  Andrew Scheer said that 95% already have drug coverage but he’s wrong.  Kim believes a plan is needed.
  4. Moderator York Bell-Smith asked the Conservative Candidate:  Will the pensionable age be left at 65 or changed to 67?  Philip responded that he would campaign strongly to keep it at 65.  Frank Vaughan commented that he wants the CPP transferable to children.
  5. The first question from the audience asked about affordable housing.
    1. Conservative: We need more full time employment as well as an increase in supply and density
    2. Liberal: We don’t want 30 story apartment buildings; the Liberals are already doing work on this issue
    3. Green:  The stress test is already helping, it protects us from overspending. But we need to address the inflated market
    4. NDP: The NDP supports the idea of Co-op housing, not for profit housing, and CMHC backed co-mortgages
    5. PPC: High immigration creates a huge demand – especially in Toronto and Vancouver.  Also taxes are too high leaving less money for housing.
  6. Why not ban Handguns?
    1. Liberal: A handguns ban will be decided by municipalities – not all want it
    2. Conservative: Agrees with Liberals
    3. Green: Agrees with Liberals
    4. NDP: A full ban can be over-reaching and may not achieve intent
    5. PPC: Laws only work for people who abide by laws.
  7. Why not change voting system like Trudeau promised?  And “make every vote count”.
    1. PPC: We need an elected Senate and the Governor General could also be elected.
    2. NDP: Disappointed – in favour of proportional representation
    3. Green: Disappointed – in favour of proportional representation
    4. Conservative: Open to listening to ideas; wants to work with people; first past the post does not have to be adversarial; would support Justin if he had the best idea.
    5. Liberal: NDP and Conservatives wanted a referendum so imposing a different method would look like the Liberals pushed it through.
  8. There should be an Environmental target of a 1.5deg temperature rise
    1. Liberal: Legislated targets are needed
    2. Conservative: We have the best plan; we would work with the biggest emitters
    3. Green: We already have the technology and the means but not the political will. 1.5deg needs a 60% reduction in emissions but the current target is only 30%.
    4. NDP: Would commit to 1.5deg and already has a very robust climate plan
    5. PPC: CO2 is not the overall problem; we cannot control temperature
  9. Big banks make billions in profit yet small business cannot get loans.
    1. PPC: The People’s Party target is zero percent inflation
    2. NDP: supports small business
    3. Green: There is a Green Party Policy “Think small first” – that  is, they favour small business
    4. Conservative: Small business is the heart of the economy; there is no easy answer but more bank competition would help.
    5. Liberal:  Taxes for small businesses have already been lowered
  10. What is the top problem that we need to invest in and how long would it take to see results?
    1. Liberal: Climate Change
    2. Conservative: Life is not affordable for many; 48% are within $200 of insolvency at the end of the month; life is too expensive.
    3. Green: Climate Change
    4. NDP: People issues, we can’t just do one.  Fixing these would automatically help climate change.
    5. PPC: Climate change is not causing high insurance claims – e.g. with Lake Ontario flooding
  11. Retirees pay too much tax.  What is your plan to reduce tax?
    1. PPC: First balance the books and simplify the tax code.  Less Government would require less tax.
    2. NDP: Taxes pay for services which we need; eliminate loopholes used by rich people.
    3. Green: Eliminate loopholes used by rich people
    4. Conservative: Scrap Carbon tax and GST on heating; give the seniors a bigger tax credit
    5. Liberal:  The Conservative plan is good for high paid people; Liberals have already reduced taxes, especially for seniors.
  12. What would you do about the Opioid crisis?
    1. Liberal: Health care is Provincial issue; there are already policies in place to address this
    2. Conservative: We “need all hands on deck” – it is not just a Provincial issue; will work with every level of Government
    3. Green: This should be a non-partisan issue. We should decriminalize usage (although not trafficking).  Bring it into the open and treat it as a health issue.
    4. NDP: Agree with Greens
    5. PPC: These are coming in across borders; we should also be concerned about amphetamines.  Against enabling drug use.
  13. What can be done about Plastic waste? (asked by 16 year old)
    1. PPC: Too much plastic is used in packaging; suggested individuals act to choose products with less or no packaging, e.g. at Farmers’ markets.
    2. NDP: Wants a green industry with e.g. compostable packaging
    3. Green: Regulations are needed to ensure recycling actually happens
    4. Conservative: Need to work with industry to eliminate unnecessary packaging
    5. Liberal:  Company with abandoned trash in Philippines was a fake company – we need to work with legitimate companies.
  14. The man asking the question was “sick and tired of sniping” and wants politicians to work together and learn to compromise so they can work in a minority Government.
    1. Liberal: Extreme partisanship is bad
    2. Conservative: Will work for constituents and work across aisle
    3. Green: Partisanship prevents things getting done – Climate crisis needs all parties.
    4. NDP: Would work with other parties – in time, parties have changed and all have some good ideas.
    5. PPC:  Government in Canada did not originally work with one party dominating.  PPC believes in each MP acting as an individual.
  15. The Liberals reduced the maximum TFSA annual contribution from $10K to $5k –what is your policy on this?
    1. Liberal: Fewer than 25% of Canadians used them – it was simply reduced to what it was before.  A larger amount is now permitted to be taken from an RSP for a house.
    2. Conservative: TFSA’s are not just used for houses
    3. Green: Tax System is complex – Greens would set up a commission to review and simplify taxes.
    4. NDP: House prices have to be tackled
    5. PPC: We have no policy on TFSAs
  16. What’s your policy on free tuition for Colleges and Universities.
    1. PPC: Students knowingly take on loans – it’s not a taxpayer responsibility
    2. NDP: Policy is to eliminate interest on student debt and transition to free
    3. Green: You need a higher education to get a job.  Greens would forgive student debt and make tertiary tuition free.
    4. Conservative: Solution is to improve the economy and get more jobs for graduates
    5. Liberal:  Increase grants and improve payment terms.  Kim criticized Doug Ford’s actions on this issue.

Closing remarks

  • Frank Vaughan: The Peoples Party of Canada is new and growing fast but policies need to be explained.
  • Mallory MacDonald: We need Government Services and to help people in need – “NDP is people first”.
  • Jeff Wheeldon: Greens believe in a bigger vision – without vision we will perish.  We need to be proactive; we can do this but need cooperation.
  • Phillip Lawrence: We need a thriving private sector – promises can be financed by cutting $1.5B of foreign aid and $1.5B of corporate welfare.
  • Kim Rudd:  The Senate is now non-partisan but Scheer will go back to the old way of selecting Senators.

Moderator York Bell-Smith commended all candidates for their passion.

Note that the above summaries are just that, summaries. To get the full idea of what Candidates say, it’s best to see them live. Go to the Federal Election page in the Links below to see a list of remaining All-Candidates meetings.

Below are some photos from the event


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4 years ago

Item 11, point 4…the smartest idea of the evening.

Reply to  cornbread
4 years ago

Almost everybody makes money off the carbon tax, but sure.

4 years ago

I appreciate you covering this meeting John but I can’t help but see some partisanship surfacing in what you choose to share from each Candidates remarks. By means of example, I have a hard time imagining that all Kim Rudd spoke about in her closing remarks was the Senate.
I wish that Candidates had been asked what training, experience and skill set they felt made them the best choice. of leader for Northumberland – what they personally want to achieve .

Reply to  Anne
4 years ago

I can answer that DAY Care operator

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  perplexed
4 years ago

Business owner of said day care.

Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
4 years ago

And a successful Business College owner too. To say “Day-Care” operator both demeans that occupation, Kim Rudd and the commenter. You should be ashamed to make this snarky comment!

Reply to  ben
4 years ago

not when they at the MP hangs up on you if they don’t like
or don’t want to be involved with real problems that matter to constituents ie. Port Hope Area Initiative and Property Value protection Program Many people have lost the equity of their homes and their retirement savings Kim Rudd is the Federal level of the peoples representative
there are lots of people I know have experienced this from that office

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Anne
4 years ago

Can we please stop with the partisan attacks against John. He does an outstanding service for the community. If you don’t like the way he reports either don’t read his Blog or start your own.

Is this typical of Liberal supporters? Go on the attack if you don’t like how the story covers your candidate? This is becoming a bad habit around here.

Reply to  Canuck Patriot
4 years ago

I also think John does a great job! However, the danger of summariizing statements for readers, and that goes for all party statements,is that the context is missing and sometimes, incorrect perceptions can be created as a result. That’s all

manfred s
Reply to  Anne
4 years ago

Anne, opinions and perceptions are subjective by nature and can’t be “incorrect” I also don’t know how one would “create” a perception for anyone other than oneself. I’ve had people ‘summarize’ some of my comments and in most cases found those summaries to fall short of my intent but I realize they are only individual opinions and I don’t expect them to see my points exactly as I intended. That’s how this all seems to work anyway.

4 years ago

Who are we kidding here !
None of this works if your MP is more interested in Photo Opps
than picking up the phone and actually dealing with issues brought to them by the constituents . They are very good at referring matters down the road or to their
other associates but there is no fallow up or fallow through .
Further more I don’t believe any MP or party can control spending and put more money in peoples pockets . 1 – its never happened in the past 2 they have no idea what any individual or families or small business needs are we are . We are all different so why not just put the $$ dollars into the public’s pocket to be used where most needed Ie: dental, medications and treatment , transportation , food ‘ housing paying for heat what ever the source education —- Don’t we know whats best for each of us . Get rid of programs that are just names that do & produce nothing other than appearances & fronts Cut Govt spending and increase the CPP, ODSP ,OAS , education benefits for Canadians not everyone else –etc etc
AND install an annual cost of living increase to these programs at the same rate s the Govt. employees , and teachers get ..

Also end Teachers striking in school & class rm time s they have 2 to 3 months of off season to deal with wage negotiations , benefits and job security stop using the children as leverage and hostages .

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  perplexed
4 years ago

ODSP is not a federal program, it’s provincial. That’s what the “O” in their name means.

Reply to  perplexed
4 years ago

“Also end Teachers striking in school & class rm time s they have 2 to 3 months of off season to deal with wage negotiations , benefits and job security stop using the children as leverage and hostages .”

Apart from this not being a Federal Issue one should understand that ‘collective bargaining’ is a guaranteed right under the Charter. Also both sides have a duty to bargain fairly, that means the Government cannot enter the room throw one sheet of demands on the table and tell the other side, “That’s all there is – take it or leave it!”

In Ontario’s recent bargaining strategy the talks started after the school year and carried on all summer. Why has there been no progress? Probably because the CUPE reps knowing that the membership averages only 38K pa, would not stand for any takeaways like massive cutbacks to their sickplan. And that is only one issue we know of. Bottom line it takes two to tango and only a one sided biased person of either side to conclude that the other side is being unreasonable. And as for children being held hostage that is a specious argument raised by unreasonable people.

Reply to  ben
4 years ago

Charter of Wrights & Unreasonable which is using the families and Children as bargaining chips
& Job security as I know it means If your qualified and make it to work you have a job become a benefit & worthy asset of the employer
Further more Self employed and small businesses have nothing to cut back
so when a Co or Employer suggest there is nothing more
we might do well to remember what happened to all those Sears Employees
whats their Union doing for them now ?

4 years ago

Very poor closing comment by Kim Rudd…this election is not about the Senate.