Canadian NewsFederal ElectionNewsTories and PPC no-show at Etobicoke-Lakeshore all candidates meeting

ETC StaffOctober 21, 20197 min

Josh Bergant, News Reporter

A lively debate hosted by the Daily Bread Food Bank and LAMP Community Health Centre invited some tough questions for the federal election candidates in Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

The debate mainly centred around the topics of housing and food security. Each candidate was allowed two minutes to speak on questions pertaining to these topics followed by panel discussion fielding questions from the audience.

The debate — which neither the Conservative or the People’s Party of Canada candidates attended — was in the format of a town hall.

Three federal election candidates met at the Daily Bread Food Bank on Oct. 16 to discuss their parties’ proposals on vital issues like healthcare, food security, taxes and housing. (Josh Bergant)

James Maloney, the Liberal incumbent, highlighted several programs and policies enacted by the federal government in the past four years.

“Our government reduced the small business tax rates,” he said. “It’s clearly worked. You see all kinds of new businesses opening up along Lakeshore and elsewhere. It’s really good to see.”

Maloney said the Liberals cur­rently support the implementation and continuation of programs such as universal Pharmacare, a national housing policy, a national food pol­icy and the Canadian child benefit.

He also reaffirmed the Liberal’s promise to end all boil water advi­sories on First Nations. “It’s disgraceful that we’re still having boil water advisories,” Ma­loney said. “We need to be working towards removing those completely in the future.”

Branko Gasperlin promised many things if the NDP were cho­sen to form government. These promises mainly centred around new programs.

“We would bring back the basic income pilot project the Ford gov­ernment scrapped,” he said. “It was working and it should be brought back on a national scale so no one provincial government can up and scrap it altogether.”

Gasperlin said the NDP hopes to build 500,000 units of housing in five years.

“My mother and father have lived in the same house for over 30 years,” he said. “It’s tough seeing people have to leave their homes and not being able to reinvest/buy into the community again.”

Gasperlin said the NDP wants to implement a universal Pharmacare program and that the Liberals have lagged behind on implementing it.

“It’s a damn shame people strug­gle in this community,” he said. “The NDP and myself want to change to change that.”

Chris Caldwell of the Green Par­ty focused his responses around cli­mate change and sustainability. “We need a different path,” he said. “Our unity lies in the salvation of nature. We must take care of our democracy.”

Caldwell said the Green Party wants to develop medium densi­ty housing that relies entirely on renewable energy, implementing a food sharing and recycling pro­gram, and naming a housing min­ister that would oversee all housing issues in Canada.

“EtobicokeLakeshore has the potential to become a new epicen­tre for green, renewable develop­ment in Canada,” he said.

Reaction from the audience was mixed. Some voiced displeasure with how the Conservatives ran their campaign in EtobicokeLake­shore. Others like Rebecca Cart­wright, a York University nursing student enjoyed the debate experi­ence as a whole.

Cartwright said she attended the debate primarily to complete a re­port for one of her classes but was disappointed at the lack of discus­sion about student issues.