Candidates in the Kenora – Rainy River riding squared off at a debate in Kenora Tuesday night before a packed hall of more than 100 people.

Much of the discussion focused on jobs and the economy.

"There has been a lot of discussion tonight about the mining industry, and the forest industry has been dismissed as a dying industry," Marion McKay said to the candidates.

"What action would you and your party take to rebuild the forest industry?" she asked.

Randy Nickle

PC Candidate Randy Nickle says job creation are his top priority. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

NDP incumbent Sarah Campbell responded by saying hydro costs in the province are too high.

"At the same time that our mill went down in Fort Frances, two others are opening up across Canada," Campbell said. "It's not that there isn't a need for paper, it's that there's a problem in Ontario."

PC candidate Randy Nickle told the audience that jobs are his party's first priority.

Candidates say First Nations key to economic development

Nickle said once the province's books are balanced, the Progressive Conservatives would share resources, including forestry revenues with First Nations.

"Creating jobs in our province is extremely important. Through the jobs that are created in the province, it gives opportunity for some situations that are really bad."

Anthony Leek

Liberal Candidate Anthony Leek, Kenora-Rainy River says he's been talking to First Nations in the riding about their involvement in economic development. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Liberal candidate Anthony Leek also spoke of the importance of involving First Nations in economic development.

"I've had discussions recently with some First Nation communities and they said we just want to get to the table, we want to be able to work these things out, so we can move everything forward." 

The event was organized by the Kenora Chamber of Commerce and candidates had a chance to see most questions in advance.