Last Tuesday, Oct.8, was the second round of the all-candidate forum being held in Kamloops at TRU. This debate did not have a focused theme, the audience was in charge of where the discussion went.
All candidates were present again and for this debate, they were given three challenge cards to comment on something another candidate had brought up. This debate was monitored by the host of NL Newsday Brett Mineer.
There were four groups that brought us the debate Kamloops This Week, Radio NL 610 AM, Kamloops Chamber of Commerce as well as KTW Digital. The debate was recorded live and can be found online if you would like to hear the whole event.
With two microphones provided to the crowd, audience members were encouraged to get up and ask, it didn’t take much encouragement. Quickly lines formed at both mic’s and the questions started to fly.
There were roughly a dozen questions asked in the two hours, with some audience making their opinions heard loud and clear. While questions were meant to be directed to one or some of the candidates, most were directed at all of them.
Themes that emerged throughout the night included senior rights, support for veterans and another dive into environmental issues. With the crowd displaying cheers and boos, this was not a non-partisan event.
There were a few questions that came up impacting university students directly, the biggest tackling the issue of student financial aid to improve access to post-secondary. This was also followed by a question about RESP and tuition tax credits being turned into a needs-based grant program.
Ken Finlayson, the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada, admitted he didn’t know much about funding structure for education but did elaborate that student housing is something the People’s Party would look at.
The Green party and the Animal Protection Party of Canada were in favour of abolishing tuition as a whole and voiced similar views about post-secondary education as a right, not a privilege.
NDP candidate Cynthia Egli said she would rather see grants instead of debt.
“Our party supports the abolition of post-secondary tuition and we support debt forgiveness right across the board,” said Peter Kerek of the Communist party.
“Young people shouldn’t go to university and have to decide whether or not they want to graduate with $40,000 in debt or $100,000 of debt and then crush their dreams” Kerek continued.
Terry Lake, candidate for the Liberals commented about raising the payback period to two years instead of the current six months as well as an increase of income as well.
“The goal is to get you out into the workplace, up on your feet and running as fast as possible, earning an income and taking advantage of that great education that we all invested in,” Lake said.
The next question was asked by Evan Klassen, the director of the Western Canada Theater who asked how all candidates value arts, culture and heritage and how they saw it as a priority in this riding.
Responses were positive from all parties, with all candidates placing a high value on the above list. All parties agreed with how important those are to build community and to them personally.
“I’ve always said if the community makes a decision, I take my marching orders from the community,” Cathy McLeod from the Conservatives said. “I’m absolutely going to work hard on your behalf to support you to make [an arts centre] a reality,” McLeod continued.
Voting day is on Oct. 21 and you’ll need to show two pieces of ID to vote. For more information about the candidates, parties or on voting visit elections.ca.