Sudbury

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing candidates promise to bring federal $ back to riding

The candidates running to be the next MP in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing met on a debate stage for the first time Tuesday night. Voters wanted to hear less about national promises and more about what parties would do for their community.

After decades as a Liberal stronghold, NDP has held seat since 2008

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing candidate Dave Williamson makes a point at the debate at the Espanola Legion, while Liberal hopeful Heather Wilson looks on. (Erik White/CBC)

One of the first voters to step up to the mic in the Espanola Legion Tuesday night believes he's living in a "have not" riding.

He asked the candidates what they will do to keep Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing from "dying."

"I think there's a misconception of where the riding is going," incumbent New Democrat Carol Hughes told the crowd of about 100.

"For the most part, we are doing very well."

New Democrat Carol Hughes is seeking a fourth term as the MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing. (Erik White/CBC)

Hughes detailed the federal funding the riding has received in recent years, including for new gold mines in Chapleau and refurbishing the aging paper mill in Espanola.

"I'm not a government backbencher or a Liberal parliamentary secretary and yet the money is coming in," said Hughes, who did note that the riding is lacking in government services cut back by Conservative and Liberals during her 11 years in office.

"The announcements Carol was talking about were all Liberal announcements," Liberal candidate Heather Wilson was quick to point out.

She said there would be even more government funding coming to the riding if she is sent to Ottawa on Oct. 21. Wilson came within 2,400 votes of unseating Hughes in 2015.

"Yes there are investments coming in, but that doesn't mean things are great," said Green Party candidate Max Chapman, pointing out that the median household income in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing of $56,626 is well below the national figure of around $71,000.

Green Party candidate Max Chapman speaks to a crowd of about 100 at the Espanola Legion Tuesday night, as Dave DeLisle of the People's Party looks on. (Erik White/CBC)

He said he feels a "real sense of urgency" in the riding and he thinks the focus should be on helping farmers, forest companies and fishermen find a piece of the new green economy.

Conservative candidate Dave Williamson suggested that an MP wearing the same party colours as the government in Queen's Park would help. 

"We need a voice on the right side of the floor that can get things done for this riding," said Williamson, currently the chief administrative officer for Little Current.

"We need a relationship between the feds and the province that will flow dollars into our communities"

People's Party candidate Dave DeLisle told the crowd that lower taxes would mean more money in their pockets and more jobs in their town, with more small manufacturers moving to the riding.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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