Edmonton-Strathcona Garneau Candidates Forum

This is the last election forum I’ll be at for a while (hopefully). If you are interested, there is a Social Justice and Green Peace forum at SUB Stage on campus tomorrow at 7:00 PM, but Jaffer won’t be there either.

My other two writeups are here for the SU forum, and here for the King’s forum.

So who was here this time?

Linda Duncan (NDP), Claudette Roy (Liberal), Jane Thrall (Green Party), Kevin Hunter (Marxist Leninist)

I’ll let you guess who won.

So some summary notes:

  • The first question was addressed to Rahim Jaffer: “Why the hell (this was in a Church) aren’t you here?” They even saved a seat for him:

  • The person who asked the first question continued on to call out Roy on vote splitting and told her “It would give me great pleasure if you would withdraw.”
  • Roy responded by distinguishing her party as the “Liberal party is a party of the centre.”
  • Thrall added “The Green Party is not a left-leaning party… We’re fiscally conservative.”
  • and Linda finished adding that her constituents “would never suggest that anyone can’t run.”
  • Then there was a question about the SPP and 9/11 from a nervous woman, to which no one pledged to investigate the events, but Linda and Kevin did warn of the dangers of the undemocratic and unconstitutional Security and Prosperity Partnership.
  • Roy continually brought up platform policies that the Liberals introduced under Paul Martin, but failed when the government was defeated in late 2005. She never blamed the NDP for that, as she does strongly in her pamphlets (I’ll have a post about that later).
  • Kevin brought up that “with NAFTA our economy is tied to a sinking ship.”
  • At one point Kevin accused Linda and the NDP of supporting the war in Afghanistan while she shook her head and repeatedly denied all charges, stating “we voted against it.”
  • On whether we should be an anti-war country, Linda emphasized “we need a peace-driven agenda,” Kevin urged us to pull troops from Afghanistan and cut off our energy to war mongering countries and to work for UN reform.
  • To the same question Thrall answered “I agree with Linda, and it does happen from time to time.” Linda replied “It happens a lot.”
  • On the prohibition of women without a male sexual partner on acquiring sperm for artificial insemination, Kevin added that “(he) would concur if (he) was a woman.”
  • On crime, Kevin added “if (putting people in jail reduced crime) were true, the US would be the safest country in the world.” While Roy stated “throwing 13 and 14 year olds in jail … seems to be the social housing project of the Conservatives.”
  • On voter reform, Roy seemed to think we should discuss the “positives and the few negatives” and that any look at electoral reform would require “reopening the constitution” to which Linda and blogger and PR-super-advocate Idealistic Pragmatist both shook their heads to. I guess Roy and the Liberals really like their ultra-biased system.
  • One thing to note is that the debaters were on a flat floor with the audience, so people had difficulty seeing them – Linda, Kevin and Jane stood for the majority of their answers, while Roy sat for most of hers (she is shorter though and commented that she should stand on a chair too).
  • At one point Roy tried to quote an NDP member on a stance on bulk water exports but was corrected and clarified by Linda.
  • When asked who opposed nuclear power, Thrall advocated for a “nuclear free Canada,” Roy dodged the question talking about the Conservatives firing a public servant over comments about isotopes, Linda suggested we take a hard stance and push a Canadian energy strategy, while Kevin best described the issue, and in his own terms, that the Alberta nuclear plants are not for energy but for blasting sand off bitumen to pipe South to power the US “war machine.”
  • When talking about health-care and making sure that people aren’t leaving hospitals sick, Kevin stated “We should have more people in hospitals.” To which the audience broke into laughter.
  • He then asked Linda after questioning the NDP’s supposed idea to use prescription drugs to keep people out of hospitals, “What planet are you living on?” to which Jane replied, “Planet Wellness.” (Note: link takes you to very woo/new-agey stuff, which is fair for the Green Party I guess.)
  • I think Kevin had better one-liners tonight than Jane, Claudette did about the same as at the King’s forum – perhaps a bit better, and Jaffer was actually awesome – since I didn’t have to hear him weasel.
  • Kevin also improved a lot and didn’t use the word “monopoly” once as I recall. He better attacked the other parties for getting federal funding (over $100 million in the past few years), while his relies solely on donations.
  • Linda was clearly the target of the other parties attacks without Jaffer there, but she took it well and held her ground strongly. The Liberal booth was quite lonely after the debate.
  • Roy even had a nice big sign advertising this debate (it was outside the King’s debate, as well as a pickup truck covered in Harper and Jaffer signs).

  • Finally, I would like to declare tonight’s moderator to be the most enjoyable one so far, so kudos to the chaplain of the care facility there.

Finally, some pictures:

Here’s a video of Linda’s opening remarks:

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