One last federal debate for GPR candidates

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
About three dozen people gathered at La Cité Golf Club in Hawkesbury early Tuesday evening for what could be the last public debate for candidates seeking the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell seat in the October federal election.

About three dozen people gathered at La Cité Golf Club in Hawkesbury early Tuesday evening for what could be the last public debate for candidates seeking the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell seat in the October federal election.

“To me, politics is about helping people,” said incumbent Liberal MP Francis Drouin.

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In this election we can debate the change we need, one vote at a time,” said Conservative challenger Pierre Lemieux, a former MP for the riding.

“I am running because there is a need for change, a need for new ideas,” said Daniel John Fey, running as an independent candidate.

Candidates introduced themselves, explained what their party represented, and why they themselves sought to become the GPR’s representative on Parliament Hill.

“I am a working-class person,” said Konstantine Malakos of the NDP. “I was raised in the working class, and I have working-class values.”

“I am happy to offer a better alternative to the major parties,” said Jean-Jacques Desgranges of the Peoples’ Party of Canada.

“I am standing here to protect my kids and their future,” said Darcy Neal Donnelly, Libertarian Party candidate.

Candidates took turns answering each of four questions from the audience along with one “wild card” question presented by the moderator. The four questions from the audience focused on the Town of Hawkesbury’s needs for economic development and investment, expansion and promotion of its tourism sector, affordable housing, and identifying “the most pressing need” for the municipality and surrounding area.

“We need collaboration,” said Marc-Antoine Gagnier, Rhinoceros Party candidate.

Marthe Lépine, the former Green Party candidate who is now running as an independent, was not present for the debate because of difficulties in arranging transportation from her home in Russell Township. The moderator noted that all the rest of the GPR candidates were men before presenting the final question of the evening. What can the next government do to protect and support the rights of women and also encourage more women to become active in politics?

Every candidate noted that every municipality in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell has at least one woman sitting on council, and in the case of Hawkesbury there is both one woman sitting as a councillor and another, Paula Assaly, serving as the current mayor. All said that more must be done to encourage women to be active in politics and other fields, including business.