Windsor·CANADA VOTES 2019

Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidates debate climate change, economic growth and more

Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidates from the country's leading political parties debated migrant workers issues, housing, climate change and economic prosperity in the second of CBC Windsor's five debates leading up to the Oct. 21 general election.

Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green party and People's Party candidates weigh in

Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidates from all five major political parties. (Simon Rice/CBC)

Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidates from the country's leading political parties debated migrant workers issues, housing, climate change and economic prosperity in the second of CBC Windsor's five debates leading up to the Oct. 21 federal election.

People's Party of Canada candidate John Balagtas, Conservative party candidate Dave Epp, Liberal party candidate Katie Omstead, Green Party candidate Mark Vercouteren and NDP candidate Tony Walsh were all present, responding to questions submitted by residents in their riding. 

Watch CBC Windsor's Chatham-Kent—Leamington candidates debate:

How will your party help Canada grow?

Addressing the subject of growth, candidates approached the question from different perspectives. 

For her part, Liberal candidate Omstead broke down the question based on economic growth and population growth, focusing on immigration as a way to address the latter issue.

"Immigration is central to our country, it is something that needs to continue," said Omstead. "It needs to be done in a respectful manner and needs to be done following all of the protocol that's in place."

Liberal party candidate Katie Omstead. (Katie Omstead Campaign)

Omstead pointed to pharmacare, reducing the cost of living and retirement planning as some of the policy platforms that would help boost economic growth.

NDP candidate Walsh said investing to expand the country's medical care infrastrucutre would help promote economic growth. 

"Let's expand it to include the coverage that we need," said Walsh. "We need investments in mental health, we need investments in dental care and eyecare, we need a national universal pharmacare plan."

Chatham-Kent-Leamington NDP candidate Tony Walsh. (Supplied by Tony Walsh)

Conservative candidate Epp said he was concerned about government spending under the Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's administration, saying "we have to control our spending or the growth of our spending."

"If we don't do it now, how can we when the cycle turns," said Epp, referring to the upward and downward movement of gross domestic product, commonly known as the economic cycle. 

"We came out of 2008/2009, that depression, that recession as one of the leaders of the G7 in economic growth. We handed that over four years ago to a Liberal government that has now added $71 billion in debt, taking us to $705 billion in our debt in a couple of years."

Conservative party candidate Dave Epp. (Dave Epp Campaign)

Green Party candidate Vercouteren said his party believes in "value-added growth."

"The problem is that Canada's economy is based on resources," said Vercouteren. "We will grow the stuff, grow the food, harvest our timber, we ship it elsewhere, they process it and come back to Canada."

Rather than sending resources to other nations for processing, Vercouteren said "we need to … bring more manifest value-added products here."

Green Party candidate Mark Vercouteren. (Mark Vercouteren Campaign)

"In Chatham-Kent, what we can do is add to the canneries and the food processing centres … so that farmers actually have a place to take the food. Not to ship it to other countries."

For his part, People's Party candidate Balagtas said Canada needs to "work closely with our allies to maintain a peaceful international order."

"We've got to make sure that we are in good standing with the international community, so that we can trade with them peacefully and in a much more prosperous [way] for all Canadians," he said. 

People's Party candidate John Balagtas. (John Balagtas/People's Party of Canada)

Balagtas said Canada must withdraw from all of its U.N. commitments, "including the global compact on migration and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that threatens our sovereignty and reduces our presence in U.N. institutions to a minimum."

"By … withdrawing from some of those commitments, we can save money for Canadians so that we can invest that money for growth here in Canada," said Balagtas. 

Here's everything you need to know about the Chatham-Kent—Leamington riding:

Don't forget about our next debate, Oct. 2 from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., featuring the Windsor-Tecumseh candidates, hosted on Windsor Morning and again streamed live on Facebook, Twitter, and cbc.ca/windsor

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