TRURO – Election candidates in Colchester Musquodoboit Valley are battling over the demise of a debate for their riding.
The debate involving candidates in that riding was scheduled for next week, however, it has been cancelled reportedly because the candidates were unable to agree to a format.
Liberal candidate Tom Martin issued a news release stating Conservative candidate Larry Harrison has “repeatedly stated that (he) will not participate in a debate that allows the people of (the riding) to directly ask questions of the candidates.”
Harrison told the Truro Daily News on Wednesday morning that he is indeed in favour of the debate. In addition, a news release to the Truro Daily News from Harrison’s campaign committee later said Harrison “expressed disappointment” that the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce cancelled the debate in Stewiacke.
“My campaign team and I were looking forward to participating in this event, but unfortunately a consensus could not be reached,” said Harrison.
Alan Johnson, the chamber of commerce’s executive director, told this paper there were three proposals by the chamber for candidates to choose from. One was questions to the candidates from emails and no live questions.
Another option was email and live questions but “the only one not OK with that was the PC” candidate, said Johnson.
A third option was email questions as well as live inquires submitted and reviewed by the chamber at the beginning of the debate. Johnson said the Conservatives were not in favour of this option, either.
Martin said, in a news release, Harrison’s refusal to answer live questions is “undemocratic and irresponsible. They are a betrayal of the people of Colchester Musquodboit Valley and of our democratic responsibility.”
Harrison told this paper, in reply, “I’m a little disappointed in (Martin’s comments),” he said. “I don’t consider myself undemocratic. You have to be accessible … and I’ve spent 41 years in ministry being accountable.”
Martin said he will arrange a series of town hall style meetings at various locations throughout the riding. Harrison has said he will do so, if elected.
NDP candidate Gary Burrill told this paper on Tuesday that he was disappointed the debate was cancelled.