Sudbury, Nickel Belt candidates debate ahead of federal election

Eight candidates from the Sudbury and Nickel Belt ridings shared their priorities about the environment for this federal election.

100 Debates on the Environment held Thursday night in Sudbury

Candidates for the Sudbury riding, including Sean Paterson with the People's Party of Canada, Bill Crumplin with the Green Party, Beth Mairs with the NDP and incumbent Liberal candidate Paul Lefebvre. (Bienvenu Senga/Radio-Canada)

Some candidates from the Sudbury and Nickel Belt ridings shared their priorities about the environment for this federal election.

On Thursday, eight candidates participated in the 100 Debates on the Environment — a series of debates that happened all across the country.

The Conservative candidate for Sudbury, Pierre St-Amant, and the People's Party candidate for Nickel Belt, Mikko Paavola, were not present for the event.

While all eight candidates at the debate say protecting the environment is important to them, they each had their own priorities and ideas for addressing environmental issues while boosting the economy.

Sean Paterson, the People's Party of Canada candidate in Sudbury told the audience that he's invested in many alternative forms of energy, solar, wave energy, hydrogen and more. He has a background in mining but added there needs to be changes to the industry.

"It's been known traditionally as one of the dirtiest industries going and I've seen the destruction over the years and I've also seen incredible changes and incredible innovation in that industry," said Paterson. "We must stop pollution. Pollution is the killer of man, killer ecosystems and the killer of all life."

Aino Laamenan, the Conservative candidate for the Nickel Belt riding says green technology and growing local are her priorities.

"So my big thing is lets grow our own food as much as possible in northern Ontario and support local farmers," she said.

Creating partnerships

Some candidates also said that working with Indigenous peoples and communities in the area is a priority, including Sudbury NDP candidate Beth Mairs.

"I stand in the firm solidarity with Indigenous people with whom Canada owes treaty responsibilities in an order to address historical and current exploitations," she said.

Adding that she plans to "consult with the local champions and leaders on the forefront of the Indigenous justice movement and the environmental movement here in Sudbury to see how I may best be a support to forward your vision, your priorities, your solutions rather than my own," said Mairs.

Sudbury Green Party candidate Bill Crumplin says water issues affecting Indigenous communities need to be addressed.

"Water is sacred," he said. "It's a shame that so many of our Indigenous communities have to boil their water [or] have terrible water. That is another priority I've set for myself."

Climate change

Paul Lefebvre, Sudbury's Liberal candidate, says in a time when there are still people who believe pollution should be free, he says there needs to be a price on pollution and there also needs to be changes in everyday lives to help.

"I also believe that we need to be banning harmful plastics," he said. "The environment and the economy go hand in hand. We can create jobs in this transition."

Nickel Belt Liberal candidate Marc Serre says the recent push from youth to address climate change issues makes him "optimistic about the future."

"They're pushing us, they're challenging us, they're making sure that we take the environment seriously."

"We have to change public policy... things don't move as fast as we want, but I'm very optimist of the youth, what you're doing right now is really putting this in the forefront," Serre said.

Nickel Belt NDP candidate Stef Paquette says he ia an environmental ally.

"That's important because if you elect someone who can't even be bothered to make the slightest of changes or effort to help the environment on a daily basis, then don't be surprised if that person never stands up and fights for a better tomorrow," he said.

Candidates with the Nickel Belt riding also debated, including the NDP's Stef Paquette, Green Party candidate Casey Lalonde, incumbent Liberal candidate Marc Serre and Conservative candidate Aino Laamanen. (Bienvenu Senga/Radio-Canada)

Nickel Belt Green Party candidate Casey Lalonde pointed out everyone needs to get involved for change when it comes to the environment.

"We're not entitled to produce tons and tons of trash and using more resources than we need."

"We're lucky that we have the ability to live this kind of lifestyle, but at the end of the day, we owe it to our planet and to the rest of the people in the world to live within our means and to not cause harm," Lalonde said.

About the Author

Jamie-Lee McKenzie is from Kebaowek First Nation. She's a Reporter with CBC Sudbury. She's also worked as a Reporter and Associate Producer with CBC Manitoba and CBC North in Whitehorse. Reach her at or connect with her on Twitter @JamieMcKenzie_


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