All Calgary Centre candidates attended a final debate on Saturday, leading up to tomorrow’s federal byelection.
Conservative Joan Crockatt, Liberal Harvey Locke, the NDP’s Dan Meades and Green candidate Chris Turner squared off at the Killarney Glengarry Community Association in the cities southwest.
Crockatt has been widely criticized during the campaign for avoiding forums – and it wasn’t long before combatant comments were thrown her way.
"You know the federal Conservatives ran on transparency. I didn't know that it meant their candidate would be invisible," said NDP candidate Dan Meades.
"But this entire election we've been looking for Joan, haven't we? And we haven't seen her."
Crockatt said her absence at forums came down to respect for voters.
"Because I actually respect voters and I think you have to go to voter’s doors and meet them where they live and ask them what their issues are if you expect to be able to represent them," Crockett said.
Liberal Harvey Locke billed himself as the progressive choice for voters.
"Or you can pick the Rob Anders style of Conservative…that is a Reform Party Conservative, which is Joan. It's your choice, it's a clear choice," Locke said.
The Green Party’s Chris Tuner told the crowd he represents the people.
"We need real voices in parliament that respect democracy and respect the institution of parliament itself and are willing to use the seat to represent their constituents first," Turner said.
Meantime, voters say they weren't surprised the debate was a heated one.
"This could strike fear into the hearts of conservatives if they lose this seat and right now it's a split vote that's really keeping them in it. Right now it seems like Ms. Crockatt is having a hard time keeping this seat," said voter Brad Windsor.
Voter Greg Miller thinks Joan Crockatt has a hard time backing-up her answers.
"She was asked simple questions about foreign policy and she stands up and says well Stephen Harper was statesman of the year. When asked to back up the comment, she has to go and Google the answer to go and find anything of substance. It was kind of ridiculous," said Miller.
While the candidates were being assessed on their performance, they were also being judged on their culinary tastes.
Each of them submitted their favourite meat pie and the audience voted in a blind poll.
Dan Meades’ bison tourtière won by a single vote.