Calgary-Greenway candidates debate to replace Manmeet Bhullar
Green Party and independent candidates hoping values trump party loyalties
Voters in the Calgary-Greenway riding go to the polls next week to choose their new MLA from the seat left vacant by Manmeet Bhullar, the well-respected MLA who died in a highway accident last November.
But one recent poll suggests it could be a close race.
Although Bhullar was a Progressive Conservative, it may not be a shoo-in for the party this time.
Voters of all parties arrived Sunday at the candidates' debate with the room divided pretty much by party.
Prabhdeep Gill of the PCs presented himself as the centrist choice.
"Our party's right in the middle, we're progressive fiscally and socially we're conservative," Gill said, before quickly correcting himself: "Sorry, other way around."
The mix-up drew good-natured laughter from the crowd.
The central issue for many voters was the economy and jobs — which the Wildrose candidate sought to address head on.
"Wildrose is the party doing the best job in standing up for the jobs and trying to stop the NDP," Devinder Toor said.
NDP candidate Roop Rai, countered that the government's approach is about creating jobs.
"We need to put this tax on, we need to put this levy on, we need to put this revenue on, or else our product will not sell," Rai said.
"Do you want that? That we do not have any jobs?"
The Liberal candidate struck a positive tone.
"Let's say yes to investing in the economy today, let's say yes to getting our resources to market and let's say yes to a new way forward," Khalil Karbani said.
Others are hoping voters are looking for an entirely new direction, including Green Party candidate Thana Boonlert and independent Larry Heather.
They argue this is the perfect time for the riding to consider voting on values, not parties.
Voters will mark their ballots on March 22.