Saskatchewan

Tories continue skipping Regina debates

After five public debates in Regina for the city's federal election candidates, one consistent theme has emerged: no Conservative candidate has appeared at any of the public forums.

Conservative Trent Fraser says door-knocking is his strategy

Regina-Lewvan Conservative Party candidate Trent Fraser. (CBC)

As the federal election is just 20 days away, candidates across the country, including Regina, have been working to earn people's votes. 

In the Queen City, there have been five public debates between local candidates, and at each one a consistent theme has emerged: no Conservative candidate in Regina has appeared at any of the public forums. 

The formats have ranged from town hall style to a standard debate. The targeted age groups have ranged as well, from high school students to one Tuesday attended by seniors. 

Tory candidates were again absent from a debate held Tuesday night at Knox Metropolitan Church in central Regina.

Regina - Lewvan NDP candidate Erin Weir (CBC)

The other parties — the Liberals, NDP and the Greens — have all had their candidates appear at the debates so far. They're not impressed with the Tories' consistent absence.

"If they're not prepared to show up and answer questions during an election campaign, you have to wonder what kind of representatives they'd be after an election," said Erin Weir, the NDP candidate for Regina-Lewvan.

The Liberal's Louis Browne, who's running in the same riding, said "If [people] want someone who's active in the community, then vote Louis Browne. If they want someone who hides and ducks and cuts and runs, then vote for someone else."

Regina - Lewvan Liberal Party candidate Louis Browne (CBC)

Trent Fraser, the Conservative candidate running in the hotly contested riding, says not attending is part of his party's strategy.

"One can buy radio ads. You can do billboards, direct mail, door-knocking, debates. I know ourselves, we've prioritized door-knocking. That one-on-one interaction is so important to us. And we're getting positive feedback at the door," he said.

Fraser said he'll be appearing in a televised debate next week. 

Regina's other two Conservative candidates, Andrew Scheer and Michael Kram, are using the same strategy.

As of Tuesday evening, the poll tracking website threehundredeight.com projected the NDP to win the Regina-Lewvan riding, the Liberal to win Regina-Wascana and the Conservatives to win Regina-Qu'Appelle. 

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