Sudbury byelection debate focuses on seniors issues

There’s no question that Sudbury’s aging population has specific needs, and on Tuesday, a candidates event focused the conversation on issues of importance to seniors.
Progressive Conservative candidate Paula Peroni speaks at a recent debate in Sudbury. Voters will head to the polls in the upcoming byelection on Feb. 5. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

There’s no question that Sudbury’s aging population has specific needs, and on Tuesday, a conversation about seniors issues kicked off a candidates meeting in the city.

It was organized by the Sudbury Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

The chair of the Friendly to Seniors group in Sudbury said he looked forward to hearing the candidates stance on health care and housing.

“Eventually, we’re all not going to be here,” John Lindsay said.

“While we’re here, we want to have the best quality of life possible.”

All candidates were invited, but there was one notable absence.

Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault was not there because of a prior commitment with aboriginal affairs minister David Zimmer.

But Hugh Kruzel, the chair of CARP in Sudbury, said it's all about priorities.

“I’m not being judgemental here. We did our best to reach out to everyone.”

However, the other candidates took time to square off in discussions about seniors' issues.

NDP candidate Suzanne Shawbonquit said she’ll sit down with seniors groups to address their issues, while Progressive Conservative candidate Paula Peroni said she’ll work to improve support for seniors.

Green Party candidate David Robinson said a carbon fee and dividend could help with supporting seniors.

As a homecare user himself, independent candidate Andrew Olivier said he’ll advocate for a stable system in Sudbury.

"I think that we need to make sure that they can afford to stay home, afford to live healthy lives in their own surroundings," he said.