Saskatoon election candidates speak out on economy, environment

With just more than one month to go in the federal campaign, Saskatoon Morning asked three candidates from the riding of Saskatoon-Grasswood to take part in an election panel this morning.

Voters pose questions to federal candidates in on-air panel

Three candidates running in Saskatoon Grasswood: (l-r) Kevin Waugh, Tracy Muggli and Scott Bell. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC News)
Saskatoon-Grasswood candidates discuss issues on Saskatoon Morning. 17:52

Candidates in the newly created riding of Saskatoon-Grasswood are out pounding the pavement, looking for your vote.

With slightly more than one month left to go in the federal campaign, Saskatoon Morning asked three of the riding's candidates to take part in an election panel this morning.

Conservative candidate Kevin Waugh, New Democrat candidate Scott Bell and Liberal candidate Tracy Muggli all joined host Leisha Grebinski in studio this morning to answer questions posed by listeners.

What do voters want to know?

When sportscaster and school board trustee Kevin Waugh was asked about what people were talking about on the door step, he said taxes and the economy were top of mind for people.

"We've seen the TSE go down in the last 12 months," said Waugh. "People are concerned about their jobs, the energy sector has had a hiccup, the price of oil has come down drastically, and it's affected this province and it's affected this country."

Lawyer and community activist Scott Bell, the riding's NDP candidate, said the environment was top of mind to many people he has spoken with.

"People are actually concerned about there not being a balance," said Bell. "We've had a series of governments, they've set carbon rejection objectives, and they've routinely missed them. None of these carbon objectives, by both Liberal and Conservative governments, have been accompanied by a credible plan."

Liberal candidate Tracy Muggli, Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the Saskatoon Health Region, said senior's issues was what she was hearing most about.

"There's a big concern among seniors in our riding," she said. "There's a lot of concern about income security, about how people are going to manage going into a situation where they might need additional help or homecare, affordable housing.  There's a big gap between the time at which people might be able to use homecare to help themselves."

Accountability to voters

While candidates are busy making personal connections with voters, that could change after the election. Many MPs are governed by official party policy, which may run counter to the wishes of the electorate.

Some candidates feel the new urban-only ridings will make keeping in touch easier.

"That's the unique thing with an urban riding," said Waugh. "When you knock on doors, you're listening to people, you take their ideas. You may not win that battle in caucus, we all have those battles you win and lose, but at least you've expressed yourself on behalf of Grasswood."

Other candidates said there needs to be more accountability to voters.

"I think it's something we have not seen in the last nine years in this riding," said Muggli. "You can't expect people will come to you and go to your office. You have to go to people."

All of the candidates said listening to people is essential.

"The top question I have for people is what are your concerns," said Bell. "I want to know about your priorities. And it's from that point that you start a conversation."

Saskatoon Morning will hold its next candidate's panel September 21st at 7:10 a.m. CST.

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