Sudbury·Photos

Sudbury Ontario byelection candidates face off in CBC debate

Climate change, bear hunting and the minimum wage were all discussed, but the CBC Sudbury byelection candidates debate focused on the defection of Glenn Thibeault to the Liberal party.

Former Federal NDP MP said he joined the Ontario Liberals because it's a party "that listens"

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      Our candidates debate held at St Andrews Place in Sudbury had some good exchanges on the issues in this by-election... but it wasn't all serious. We borrowed a segment from CBC's "The Debaters". It was our own version of "The Firing Line"... 7:18
      Climate change, bear hunting and the minimum wage were all discussed, but the CBC Sudbury byelection candidates debate focused on the defection of Glenn Thibeault to the Liberal party.

      Thibeault faced pointed questions from his opponents and his answers were drowned out by booing from the crowd at times.

      "This wasn't an easy decision. You can ooh and ahh, but it really wasn't," he told the crowd.

      "I knew there would be the cat calls afterwards. I was prepared for that. My beliefs are still the same. If you're looking at integrity, what I'm putting out there is truly what I want people to think about. You can call me all the names you want, but I'm doing this to make my city a better place."

      Thibeault also explained that he joined the Ontario Liberals because it's a party "that listens."

      Former Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier — who was passed over by the Liberals in favour of Thibeault and is now running as an independent — asked Thibeault about the moments when he has to choose between what his riding wants and what the party wants.

      Listen to the head-to-head debate between Olivier and Thibeault here:

      On mobile? Click here.

      "I think I've gotten a really good crash course in politics," said Olivier. "I've learned a lot about what's important."

      Olivier was asked about his integrity in terms of recording private conversations without telling those involved.

      "Everyone now knows I record conversations, so if you have a backroom deal, don't talk to me about it," he said.

      New Democrat Suzanne Shawbonquit accused Thibeault of turning his back on people who supported him.

      "We were all shocked when you crossed the floor," she said. "They loved you and adored you. They believed in you. Sudbury deserves better than that."

      Progressive Conservative Paula Peroni took exception to Olivier being worried about being "stuck at Queen's Park" and took a stab at Thibeault's attendance record in the House of Commons.

      "I am not going to be another quitter," she said, referring to the recent resignations of MPP Joe Cimino and Thibeault. "We've seen far too many of those."

      Green Party candidate David Robinson avoided commenting on the controversy and made his pitch to the voters.

      "I'm going to be a lot more effective than some backbencher down there," said Robinson. "Sudbury would be Canada's Green City."

      An audience question about a carbon tax also produced heated debate. Listen to the exchange:

      On mobile? Click here.

      The debate started off feisty as well, with independent candidate John Turmel trying to take a seat at the table with the five invited candidates — and then refusing to leave until he was escorted out by police.

      For a blow-by-blow account of the debate, read the archived live blog here:

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