Ottawa·ELECTION 2018

Cumberland candidates face off in French debate

Candidates in Cumberland ward squared off Tuesday evening in a French-language debate aimed at making sure everyone gets to hear candidates weigh in on the issues.

Organizers say these debates are important for area's francophones

Candidates Stephen Blais and Cameron Rose Jette at Tuesday night's debate. (Yasmine Mehdi)

Municipal candidates in Cumberland ward squared off Tuesday evening in a French-language debate aimed at making sure everyone gets to hear candidates weigh in.

Mouvement d'implication francophone d'Orléans (MIFO) hosted the debate for about 15 people at the Centre culturel d'Orléans as part of a series of French-language debates happening this week.

The group's director general Marie-Claude Doucet said it wants residents to be able to hear from candidates in the language they speak.

"It's important because there are a lot of events during the election campaign, but there are not a lot in French," she said.

"It is a privileged moment that they have with the candidate to ask their questions in French."

Transit, accessibility goals

Stephen Blais, the incumbent in Cumberland, said he believes residents are looking for solutions to make it easier to get around.

"Commute times, whether by bus or by car, are always a big issue in Orléans and in Cumberland," he said.

"We need to make sure we get [eastern] light rail built by 2022."

Stephen Blais has represented Cumberland ward since the 2010 election. (CBC)

Blais said his time as a school trustee and his eight years on council have given him experience, and combined with his history in the community, makes him the right choice.

"I know the things that people care about, because I have lived in the community my entire life," he said.

Cameron Rose Jette was promising a different perspective to voters.

Jette said accessibility is a major issue, because there isn't enough housing for people with disabilities.

"I don't currently live in my riding, because the house I grew up in for 20 years is inaccessible," Jette said.

"I was just unable to live there, because there were no options for accessible living."

Cameron Rose Jette has said their two top priorities are community safety and accessibility. (CBC)

The ward's other candidate Jensen Boire did not attend Tuesday's debate.

MIFO is hosting two other debates in Innes ward on Wednesday night and in Orléans ward on Thursday evening.

Election day is Oct. 22.

With files from Yasmine Mehdi