Federal election candidates stage lively debate

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - A lively federal election debate in Truro last night often resulted in bickering between the Independent and Conservative candidates.
Independent Bill Casey and Conservative Joel Bernard sparred many times while NDP Karen Olsson and Liberal Tracy Parsons were a little more reserved.
One question asked of the Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley candidates was if the constituents supported you voting against your party, would you?
While the women immediately said yes, Bernard questioned Casey's motives for voting against his previous party's budget over the Atlantic Accord.
"You don't wait until a budget comes down," to address it, Bernard said.
"Bill, you were there long enough and knew the issues. Did you do it because you didn't get a spot in cabinet?"
Many boos erupted from the audience of about 100 people.
"No, I did it because the government broke the law. I'm proud of what I did and I'd do exactly the same thing again," retorted Casey to a thunderous applause.
Another of many topics discussed was how successful Casey could be as an Independent.
"We owe Mr. Casey a debt of gratitude," over the accord, said Parsons. "But Bill can't sit on committees and everything is done on committees."
Bernard's effectiveness was then debated as candidates discussed whether he was able to represent the area well as a non-resident.
"How can you know the riding's issues and people without living here?" questioned Casey.
"I'm quick to learn. Do you hire a person because of his hometown or because he can do the job?" responded Bernard.
Candidates were also asked to state the most important issues locally.
Olsson opted for pushing for a $10-an-hour minimum wage; Casey wants to focus on training workers to keep unemployment rates down as well as bringing in more immigrant workers. Parsons promoted personal and businesses tax cuts, help for farmers and infrastructure work, while Bernard pushed reducing taxes and promoting new business development locally.
Bernard added new government spending needed to be limited and a more cautious approach is required in dealing with the economy.
Speaking about the economy, Casey added Canada needs to expand its relations beyond the United States in light of the economic crisis in the U.S.
"Eighty-seven per cent of our exports go to the U.S. We need to look beyond the U.S. as customers," he said.
The role of the federal government in relation to skills shortages and education also delivered a variety of solutions from the candidates.
"Education is still far too expensive," said Parons.
"We need more apprentice programs that give access to student loan money and tax credits."
Olsson indicated "fast tracking" of immigrants to the area, more "green" based education and jobs and encouraging more nurses and doctors to come to smaller areas would make positive differences.
Poverty was also discussed. All agreed the riding is not without this social and economic issue.
"There are children going to school hungry," said Parsons.
"There are people still living on dirt floor houses," added Olsson.
Industrial parks, specifically in Truro and Debert, became the focus of an economic discussion.
"I'm promoting air and defence industry in Debert," stated Casey.
"It's not an issue of building and waiting for people to come. We need to draw local business that want to expand and diversify," said Bernard.
"We need to support local people, including artists, and reinstate $10-an-hour minimum wage," said Olsson.
Parsons counted that politicians need to meet with the Department of Finance and implement a manufacturing plan for local businesses that will result in local economic spinoffs.

Organizations: Department of Finance

Geographic location: TRURO, United States, Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley Debert Canada

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Recent comments

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:22

    Let me ask you a question Susan or Mr. or Mrs. Speaker:

    Who comes first? the citizens of your riding or the ideology and partisan views of a party?

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    Hi Roger,

    In the past, also now, when one called upon the Courts requesting an equitable remedy to relieve them from the hardships of the Common law, that person would have to come to the Court with clean hands. This meant coming before the court in good faith. *those seeking equity must do equity*.

    You've come to the wrong forum for sympathy with such dirty hands:

    Your own quote from 2007:

    *I must say that I am disapointed to see the Tory Spin Machine in operation today on the Mike Duffy Show. Here we had a mab by the Name of MacDonald speaking on behalf of the Harper Government. I must say that they did a very good job of Blaming the Atlantic Canadians of The Harper Government lieing to all. This will be the end of the Tory government and the Tory Party. I thought that Harper was an honnorable man who wanted to do what is right. But if the comments of his spokesman today are him then the sooner him and his tory party are gone the better. Blameing the victims of your lies (Atlantic canadians) will be the down fall of this counterfit Tory Government !*

    I suggest you go elsewhere and try to fool others with your rhetoric.

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    Don't worry Susan as even in Jonestown everyone didn't drink the cool aid .

  • Silly
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    i'm sure your words concerning the deaths of 100's of people will sooth susan in her knowledge that the majority of people agree with Mr. Casey and don't care for partisan party politics and really champion those who care about the people. Actually you, abc and susan are the ones who want us to drink the kool aid and follow the flock, CCMV just ain't listening. Goodluck!

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    oh silly you took the words right out of my mouth and stuffed them right into Mr. or Mrs. Speakers face! How's the kool aid Mr. or Mrs. Speaker....come election day I'm sure it'll go down real bitter.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    This is an election, get out and vote Mr. or Mrs. Speaker. Vote for your pilon. but explain why do you feel the need to put yourself on a pedestal and put down the people of CCMV?

    Also earlier you put down the Harper gov't and Max Bernier and declared that the Conservative Gov't put our troops in danger now you want to be their lap dog? Then you start off by making wild declarations and accusations that you can't back up with any proof.

    I guess democracy is meaningless to you. Pity for such a man who professes such distinct lineage.

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 11:06

    As a constituent I was never consulted.......Perhaps if he had consulted with the people of the riding- the outcome would have been different.

  • Roger
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    I was kicked out of the Top BC Tory's (James Moores ) Office the other day by his staff.
    They claimed that they did not want my vote or my support as Mr Harper does not want support or the vote of anyone who wants to be a Military Contractor. Then they threw my card in the garbage can in front of me and told me to leave.

    I suggest that anybody who thinks we should supply our military needs from Canadian Companies built by Canadians should take the advice of BC's top Tory's Office don't give them your vote.
    That is if you think that we should be able to supply our Countries needs ourselfs Military or otherwise.

    I say don't vote for harper then Let him do as he plans to import from Washington approved Americans only !

    A vote for someone who does not want your Vote Is A Suckers Vote!

    So a Vote For the Cons and Harper is a Suckers Vote !

    Do as the Staff of the Top Tory in BC instructs don't Vote Tory !

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    I rather agree with Mr Speaker. Finally the establishment outside the establishment. Looks good on this group of elites who for years did not allow anyone to penetrate the sanction of PC/CP rituals.

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 10:54

    True emmrie but he says he called his wife who told him how to vote .

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:51

    thanks susan, so we'll replace the elites with other elites? thanks for the information.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    And to add another point, those establishment people who are now outside the establishment are popular because they are onside with the people. While you would champion the *new* elites that would toe the party line against the wishes of their consistuents?

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    yeah Mr. or Mrs. Speaker, the majority of voters, the citizens of this region are just like a separatist party. I know why you hide behind a fake name. Very brave. Cult of personality? You are wrong yet again. You can't even point to anything, just the musings of a guy or girl with a tent peg looking for another victim.

  • emmrie
    January 18, 2010 - 10:46

    Bill Casey is a grown man and was more than capable of making an informed decision at the time and it appears that he did. Why cry over spilled milk? It is what it is!

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    actually susan from the applause the man received during the debate, I would think you would be on the losing end of that outcome. And also Susan this upcoming vote will actually let you know what the people in the riding thought of his decision.

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 10:33

    This is one of those ridings Federally where people vote like robots .It is a sure ,safe seat for the old PC group whoever they decide to elect .The tragedy is that their chosen one doesn't like being in Government and is more comfortable elsewhere. He therefore perhaps would not be comfortable as a Cabinet Minister either . The PM must have been aware of this and he therefore would not make good cabinet material . He says he won't talk to the Government until they re-institute the provisions of the Atlantic Accord .Therefore,it appears they are not even on speaking terms which must be rather odd . The old PC group that has run local Federal politics here has really let the riding down .The riding has sort of become a Jonestown North . They have all drank the cool aid and have a popular charasmatic leader who makes speeches and rails on against outsiders . He goes on about all those outsiders in Ottawa,all those outsiders Out West,all those outsiders in the US,and all the outsiders in Halifax. The backward looking old PC group ,and assorted rednecks locally and in other areas eat it up and pour their contributions into this negative destructive game . In working terms , the only comparable line of thought they have that i can see is with The Bloc Quebecois . IMO

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 10:30

    The MP here reminds me of Gilles Duceppe ,the majority of voters in CCMV and the old PC group are mirroring the Bloc Quebecois in their phsylosophy . It is just the cult of personality . Negative musings and rantings against anyone and anything beyond their borders . No plan for the future . When asked how they expect to get the riding back at least into a credable opposition team ,they just give stunned mumblings . No doubt they all will be swelled up like bull frogs after election night by crushing average candidates . The national seat count will determine if the local MPs vote still has no value for barganing . IMO