Student union cancels U of M debate after Gordon Giesbrecht rejects invite
Perceived lack of interest from student body led to decision to cancel, UMSU VP says
The union that represents University of Manitoba students says it is cancelling a scheduled debate between Winnipeg South candidates due to a lack of interest from students after federal Conservative candidate Gordon Giesbrecht refused to participate.
The debate, which was set to take place for Oct. 5, was taken off the agenda following a meeting between University of Manitoba Students' Union (UMSU) representatives Monday night.
"It was pretty evident that not many students would have participated in the debate," said Astitwa Thapa, UMSU's vice-president of external relations. "The best course of action was to cancel it."
The announcement comes just days after Giesbrecht, a U of M professor and the Conservative candidate in the riding, pulled out of the debate.
- Gordon Giesbrecht turns down debate at U of M, where he teaches
- Gordon Giesbrecht, Tory candidate, compares abortion to 9/11, Holocaust
"Everyone has heard the other three candidates speak in different forums.... We tried everything to bring Gordon Giesbrecht to come," Thapa said.
"They wanted to question Gordon Giesbrecht. The students were very dissatisfied when we informed them he would not come."
Thapa said students have vocalized their disappointment that Giesbrecht, "a leading professor at the U of M," would not attend.
"He's very famous — we really wanted to ask him questions," Thapa added. "It just didn't make sense to go ahead with the other three candidates."
Giesbrecht, who teaches in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, is popularly known as "Professor Popsicle" for his research on human responses to extreme environments.
In lieu of the leaders' debate, Thapa said members of UMSU intend on sending a list of questions to all four candidates in the riding. The answers will then be shared with students.
Canadians head to the polls Oct. 19.
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?