Cardy, Gallant spar over Nazi parody video tweeted by NDP candidate
David Alward, Brian Gallant and Dominic Cardy participate in final leaders' debate
The final leaders’ debate before the Sept. 22 election spurred on several heated exchanges on Thursday, including a testy exchange between NDP Dominic Cardy and Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.
Gallant demanded Cardy apologize over a YouTube video that was posted by Tony Sekulich, the NDP’s candidate in Portland-Simonds and former director of communications for the party, on his Twitter account.
The video was a parody of the movie Downfall, which looked at the final days of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany. But the video had subtitles under the actors as if the Nazis were Gallant and other Liberals.
In a terse exchange between Gallant and Cardy during the CTV leaders’ debate on Thursday, Gallant said he did not find the parody video funny, at which point Cardy offered to shake the Liberal leader’s hand.
Gallant didn’t accept the overture and replied, “Are you apologizing on behalf of your party for the Nazi reference or are you making a stunt.”
Cardy said the handshake was a “mutual apology” for Sekulich’s actions and accused Gallant of a “stunt.”
The exchanges were not any less testy at other points in the debate.
On Thursday, Sekulich removed the link to the video and then apologized.
The Sekulich tweet was the second candidate-related controversy that Cardy had to deal with on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Kent South NDP candidate Paul Musgrave said he had regretted his decision to run for the party because Cardy’s position on shale gas did not far enough.
Musgrave, who entered the raise to campaign against the shale gas industry, asked for the NDP leader to toughen his stance.
Debate excluded Greens, People's Alliance
Earlier in the debate, the leaders tossed around accusations of their rivals flip-flopping on campaign promises.
“But if I may, Dominic, you've changed your position on fracking about nine times. You've actually change twice during this campaign,” Gallant said at one point during the debate.
Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward came to the NDP leader’s defence by criticizing Gallant for his own fluidity on positions.
“This is rich coming from Mr. Gallant who's changed his position about five times during the campaign,” Alward said.
The sharp exchanges between the debates were limited only to three parties, however.
The CTV debate, which was held at St. Thomas University, excluded Green Party Leader David Coon and People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin.
“I think I have a right to debate just as any other leader of a registered party has a right to debate,” Austin said.
Austin’s position had received earlier support from university professors in New Brunswick.
“STU's decision to accept the request of CTV to host a debate which limits the number of leaders to three, as opposed to all five, flies in the face of the true spirit of democracy," states Jean Sauvageau, the president of the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations, in a letter to St. Thomas University president Dawn Russell.
A STU spokesperson said the matter of CTV inviting only three of the leaders was discussed at the university. But the university decided it isn't STU’s place to play a role in determining the participants in the CTV event.