Vaughan candidates debate; NDP backs Green?

24 Nov
Candidates Debate

Candidates Debate

By Joshua Freeman

Vaughan voters got a taste of political debate last night, despite the conspicuous absence of Conservative candidate, Julian Fantino.

About 200 people came to see the Liberals’ Tony Genco, the Greens’ Claudia Rodriguez-Larrain, and the NDP’s Kevin Bordian debate at a Woodbridge event hosted by the Vaughan Citizen, Human Endeavour and the Vaughan Social Action Committee.

Off the bat, Vaughan Citizen editor, Kim Champion addressed Fantino’s absence.

“I believe that a debate of this sort is a very important part of the democratic process, so we regret Mr. Fantino’s decision and I feel badly for everyone who came here this evening expecting a full debate among all four invited candidates, “ she said. “I never received a reply from Mr. Fantino to our invitation and still haven’t.”

Although he was absent in the flesh, he was present in print, as members of Conservatives Against Fantino distributed anti-Fantino pamphlets outside the event and in the parking lot.

Genco slammed Fantino for missing the debate and pointed out he himself had missed the Justin Bieber concert he had promised to attend with his daughter for her 13th birthday in order to be at the debate.

“It’s disappointing that one of the key candidates wasn’t present,” Genco said. “If you make a commitment to be a candidate for elected office, you need to do you job.”

Fantino had participated in an all-candidates debate taped at Rogers Television earlier in the day, but said he couldn’t attend the live debate because of a previous family commitment.

Once the debate got underway, health care was a hot topic, with all candidates agreeing on the need to push for a hospital in Vaughan. Other topics included child poverty, mental health and the need for more federal services in Vaughan.

Although a large number of attendees were Liberal supporters, many said they were impressed with Rodriguez-Larrain, who came armed with facts, figures and ideas. Her good showing contrasted with NDP candidate Kevin Bordian, who was noticeably stumped when asked for his perspective on a number of issues. Telling the audience he’s not a ‘hardcore politician,’ Bordian said he preferred not to implement party instructions to attack the Liberals for propping up the Conservatives in parliament. At one point, he even threw his support to Rodriguez-Larrain.

“I’m going to do something very rare,” Bordian said. “I would encourage you to vote Green because they actually seem to be honest, they actually seem to be fighting for something other than the party line.”

Although his refreshing honesty at times drew applause and laughs in equal measure, some voters weren’t impressed.

“I thought the Green speaker was excellent,“ said one senior. “I thought the NDP would do better not to field a candidate than to field one who does not even know the party policy – and I’m an NDP’er.”


9 Responses to “Vaughan candidates debate; NDP backs Green?”

  1. Paolo Fabrizio November 24, 2010 at 7:44 PM #

    No mention that not all candidates were invited or that the NDP candidate did not show up to the Rogers debate. What the heck is he doing working for the Greens? I’m trying to beat the Greens and he is making sure they get fourth place. Last time I ran in Vaughan I almost received 700 votes with no help. This time around I have help and signs and pamphlets and I’m out everyday campaigning thanks Jack for allowing two Greens to run in this By-election.

    • vaughanelection November 24, 2010 at 8:03 PM #

      Thanks, Paolo. It’s indeed my understanding that only the candidates from the four major parties were invited (Kim Champion suggested this in her quote about invited participants).
      I didn’t get the Rogers debate as I don’t like in the region – which candidates participated?

  2. lemmywinks November 24, 2010 at 11:13 PM #

    Apparently candiates but Fantino were there, the rest were just not allowed to talk, what is that about?

    I also here there was a serious outburst by Dorian Baxter, Its a shame the rest did not speak up to this injustice.

    • vaughanelection November 24, 2010 at 11:45 PM #

      Yes, there was an angry outburst from Baxter at the start of the debate. He was upset that he and other candidates weren’t invited to participate. It’s my understanding the Vaughan Citizen, in the interest of fruitful debate, only invited candidates from parties which run candidates in all ridings across the country. While excluding people might seem unfair, those of us who saw the 13-person regional council debate in the municipal election can appreciate how tough it is to have a meaningful debate with many candidates in the mix. -JF

  3. Darren Roskam November 25, 2010 at 12:37 AM #

    Maybe we should have a more meaningful and fruitful Olympics by banning the poorer countries. They have less people to choose from, less money to train with. Are they not a waste of time? Having to introduce them, as if they have a reason to be there?

    These things aren’t even debates. The open debate portion is when the Liberal and Conservative pay attention to each other. Give each candidate the chance to ask one question of one other candidate, and then you will have a lively show.


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