Sudbury

Nipissing-Timiskaming candidates square off in first debate

The would-be MPs for Nipissing-Timiskaming met on a debate stage for the first time Wednesday and discussed everything from climate change to gun control to tensions between the right-wing parties.
Nipissing-Timiskaming candidates Alex Gomm of the Green Party, Jordy Carr of the Conservatives, Liberal Anthony Rota and People's Party candidate Mark King debate the issues at Nipissing University in North Bay. (Erik White/CBC )

The would-be MPs for Nipissing-Timiskaming met on a debate stage for the first time Wednesday and discussed everything from climate change to gun control to tensions between the right-wing parties. 

This was the first time People's Party candidate Mark King had faced Conservative Jordy Carr since she replaced King as the Tory candidate this summer.

But aside from a few brief mentions, they saved most of their venom for incumbent Anthony Rota. 

"The economy is number one," Rota told the crowd at Nipissing University.

"We have to make sure the economy grows. We have added 1 million new jobs in the last four years."

Liberal Anthony Rota and People's Party candidate Mark King disagree on how well the Canadian economy is doing. (Erik White/CBC )

But King countered with stats of his own, including a 75 per cent drop in foreign investment and 50,000 no longer looking for work since the Liberals came to power. 

"That's what's going on in our country right now," said King, who is also a North Bay city councillor. 

"We're tired, as I'm sure you are, of the elite running our country for their crony friends."

King says lowering taxes and cutting government spending on foreign aid, "corporate welfare" and the CBC is the best way to help regular folks.

There were several questions about climate change, with Carr claiming that the Conservatives have the "most comprehensive" environmental plan in Canadian history.

Nipissing-Timiskaming Green Party candidate Alex Gomm and Conservative Jordy Carr. (Erik White/CBC )

It centres around scrapping the Liberal carbon tax and targeting unsustainable industries instead. 

"We believe that you need to deal with the polluters and not the commuters," said Carr, who is a town councillor in Callander.

"We're falling further and further behind."

Green candidate Alex Gomm said his party also plans to tax polluters and use some of the revenue to pay for free university and college tuition, which got a cheer from the audience.

He said the government should be focused on the economy of the future, which is being shaped by automation and climate change.

A student asks a question about climate change during an election debate at Nipissing University Wednesday. (Erik White/CBC)

"If we continue to do business as usual, there will be no jobs," Gomm said.

One audience member asked about a Liberal promise to limit assault-style weapons.

Rota said anyone hunting deer with an AR-15 should "get a new hobby" and King blamed Toronto gun violence on "Somalian gangs" prompting Carr to say that "racism and guns don't go together.

NDP candidate Rob Boulet says he couldn't take part in the debate, because he couldn't get time away from his day job. 

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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