Candidates in two northern ridings are displeased that Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak will not be attending a debate on Monday.

As provincial party leaders sit down in Thunder Bay Monday night to debate the major issues facing Ontario’s north, Hudak said he won’t be able to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Nickel Belt Liberal candidate James Tregonning said the PC leader should have rescheduled.

“I think it says the message that ‘we just don’t care about you,’ it’s like there’s no life past Nippissing and Parry Sound for the Progressive Conservatives,” Tregonning said.

NDP incumbent Frances Gelinas for Nickel Belt also said that Hudak’s decision to miss the debate is an insult to people of northern Ontario.

“The challenges in northern Ontario are significantly different and he owes it to the people of northern Ontario to come and answer questions,” Gelinas said.

However, Sudbury PC candidate Paula Peroni said organizers didn’t consult with parties before picking the date for the debate.

“It’s a little disappointing, but I understand that there were three dates suggested and as soon as the premier determined one date, then they made the announcement,” Peroni said.

She added that Hudak’s previous appearance in the north show he considers the region a priority.