Three stars of provincial politics meet in CBC Sudbury election forum

Provincial candidates from the northeast last night faced off for the first time in this election campaign. The debate hosted by CBC Sudbury was emotional, as well as political, with citizens sharing their personal stories.

PC Vic Fedeli, Liberal Glenn Thibeault and NDPer France Gelinas spar over dozens of issues

Nipissing Conservative Vic Fedeli, Sudbury Liberal Glenn Thibeault and Nickel Belt New Democrat France Gelinas face off in the CBC provincial election forum Thursday night. (Erik White/CBC )

Provincial candidates from the northeast faced off on Thursday night for the first time in this election campaign.

The election forum hosted by CBC Sudbury was emotional, as well as political with citizens telling their stories to the candidates. 

A single mother with two kids, a young couple struggling with student debt and a business owner upset about government regulation were among the people who put a personal tinge on political issues for the three candidates and the crowd of about 100 at St. Andrew's Place in downtown Sudbury.

Their stories will be featured at in the coming days.

Nipissing Conservative Vic Fedeli and Sudbury Liberal Glenn Thibeault spar over job creation stats in front of a live audience at St. Andrew's Place. (Erik White/CBC )

The three political veterans—Sudbury Liberal Glenn Thibeault, Nipissing Conservative Vic Fedeli and Nickel Belt New Democrat France Gelinas—did exchange barbs over several hot button issues. 

A question from the floor about growing the economy, prompted Thibeault to boast about how the Liberal government has created 500 jobs a day since Kathleen Wynne became the premier.

"You cannot say we're leading the G7 in growth, when we're not even leading on our country," Fedeli said, pointing a finger at Thibeault.

"But economists are showing that as well Vic, that we are leading, that we are growing in this province," Thibeault said.

"Creating 500 jobs a day that you need to put two or three together to make ends meet is not creating wealth, it's not helping our economy," said Gelinas. 

Nipissing Conservative Vic Fedeli, Sudbury Liberal Glenn Thibeault and Nickel Belt NDPer France Gelinas listen intently while a citizen tells their story during the CBC election forum. (Erik White/CBC )

The cost of hydro came up several times over the evening, with Gelinas repeatedly pushing her party's pledge to buy back the portion of Hydro One that was privatized by the Liberal government in recent years.

"Every other government has been able to keep hydro public and invest in hospitals and build roads," said Gelinas.

"It was to help the Liberal government, not to help us."

Fedeli took issue with the NDP hydro plan, saying that buying back the shares with the $250 million annual dividend from the electric utility will take too long .

"People need relief on their hydro bill today, not 25 years from now," he said.

"The sale of Hydro One has not raised the price of electricity by one single cent," Thibeault shot back.

"Nobody believes you," Gelinas replied. 

About the Author

Erik White


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


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