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Uptown debate goes downtown

The Student Association at Durham College and UOIT hosted a debate on their North campus September 19. That subject of the debate should have been on the North campus too, but lack of student attendance meant it was dropped from the program.

While most of the questions were student-centric, the expansion of UOIT put an inevitable downtown shift on the debate.

Mike Shields, Ontario NDP
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“I see a lot of exciting things happening downtown, especially with the return of the school year. There are a lot of backpacks moving to and fro,” says Shields. “You go into places like Mad Café with fair trade coffee and I feel like I’m in a university town.”

He says he chose to put his campaign office right in the downtown core because the redevelopment is important to him. By being there he says he’s been able to connect with small business owners. Shields says the NDP plans to bring down small business tax to four per cent to reward job creators.

Jacquie Menezes, Liberal Party of Ontario
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“Great cities are enriched by their universities and colleges,” says Menezes. “So this is a very exciting opportunity for Oshawa to grow and see their future in terms of clean technology and all the other opportunities for business growth.”

She says we need to attract more businesses to suit students downtown. Not only is it important that tere are employment opportunities while students attend school, we also need to attract businesses that will provide internships and employment after graduation.

Stacey Leadbetter, Green Party of Ontario
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Leadbetter says it needs to be easier for business to serve students as well as work with them. She says the Green Party plans to streamline the process for new businesses making it easier for them to start both tasks.

“There are a variety of industries that can move into the downtown core and unfortunately we know there’s the available space because the downtown has taken a hard hit over the years,” says Leadbetter.

She says her party would work with the City of Oshawa to get new businesses in there, “as quickly as the students moved in.”

Candidate Jerry Ouellette was at the debate but was not available afterward for comment during the meet and greet and did not respond to an interview request. We will update this post with Ouellette’s additions when he does respond.

Story by Nathan MacKinnon

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