On May 2, Canadian voters will take to the booths to select the next Federal party. In preparation of this general election, Oshawa’s needs were debated April 20 at the Oshawa Senior Citizens’ Centre.
Incumbent Conservative Colin Carrie, Liberal candidate James Morton, the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Chris Buckley and a representative for Gail Bates and the Green Party debated and answered questions from the public. Bates could not be present due to the death of her father-in-law. Her representative asked for the questions to be emailed to Bates, which the DON did and her responses are marked below.
Carrie used the Sun Sea, the cargo ship that transported Tamil migrants into Canada, as an example for why Canadians need a tighter refugee system. Morton said that many people in the room were immigrants adding that newcomers can also bring great things. “Let’s not forget, these are human beings as well,” Buckley said. “Tell that to the unemployed,” an audience member challenged. Buckley suggested he visit the Midtown Mall CAW Centre.
Buckley emphasized that he was born and raised in Oshawa and wants to be a fighter for local workers and their families. Using Canadian company Sher-wood’s move to China as an example, Buckley said he wants to keep manufacturing jobs in Oshawa, saying he wants to stop “the Fat cats getting richer.” Bates responded to employment issues via email saying, “I think the biggest issue to voters both in the downtown and all of Oshawa is jobs. I am willing to work with our municipal officials to help bring jobs to Oshawa.”
From many sides, there was a strong opposition against an ethanol plant being built on Oshawa’s waterfront. Carrie called the waterfront, “a jewel and an asset.” Buckley said, “We deserve to have a strong vital waterfront.” Meanwhile, Morton stated Oshawa is the only place where waterfront property is not of the highest value. He also spoke of the Liberals’ plan to prioritize green technology through a green tax credit.
Carrie said the Conservatives do not want to raise taxes. He said, “Choose to vote conservative or an opposition high tax agenda.”
Buckley said that if people had good jobs they would be able to afford higher taxes. The NDP wants to see employment insurance, “beefed up.” Morton said the Liberals want to spend money on things we need, questioning Harper’s prison expansions when crime rates are lower.
“Stephen Harper is going to leave a huge deficit when he leaves office,” Morton said.
Bates talked about her party’s financial stance via email. “The other thing the Green Party has as policy is setup of municipal superfunds that municipalities can apply for to help alleviate some of the cost of infrastructure spending, brownfield remediation, water and waste facility upgrades. In helping the whole city we can help revitalize our downtown with efficient transit, retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient, bike lanes, etc.”
Carrie said voters he spoke with did not find an election necessary. Morton said the Liberals want to see an end to, “political bickering.” The NDP and the Green Party agreed Canada’s government needs a change. “Our current government was found to be in contempt of our parliament,” said the Green Party representative. The Green Party wants a, “true democracy, making every vote count.”
Story and images by Hillary DiMenna.