The four candidates vying to represent Nanaimo-Ladysmith constituents in the next House of Commons, made their pitches to a crowd of about 300 in Aggie Hall Thursday, Oct. 8.
Mark MacDonald, Conservative; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Paul Manly, Green; and Tim Tessier, Liberal came ready to put their own case before voters, and to knock a few planks out of the platforms of their rivals.
They concluded the evening with impassioned calls for support, citing the reasons they deserved the confidence of Ladysmith voters.
“Nanaimo-Ladysmith desperately needs an MP on the government side, who can actually help the area, instead of just complaining and saying no to everything,” MacDonald said in his concluding remarks.
He then echoed statements that have been made by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, that the other parties are not prepared to be good stewards of the Canadian economy.
“There’s one thing becoming very clear,” he said. “The other candidates are on a shopping spree to buy your votes. They have no credible plan to pay for the promises that they’re making.”
He said Nanaimo-Ladysmith is losing opportunities because MPs and MLA’s are not in tune with the governments in power. “You can’t continue to say no to Victoria and Ottawa and expect prosperity in your area.”
Malcolmson said if people want change in Ottawa, they should vote New Democrat. “It’s all hands on deck in this election; New Democrats have the best chance of defeating the Conservatives in this election,” she said.
As for running an economy she turned the mirror on her Conservative rival. “The Conservatives racked up another $130 billion in federal debt since taking power.”
She added, “I’ll stand behind the New Democrat record on the economy. Finance Canada has said New Democrats have the best record of any political party across the country on debt and deficit.”
Tessier scolded MacDonald for referring to Liberal Leader Justine Trudeau as Justin Bieber during the campaign. “It is a shame that our country has got to this point with a government that relies on bullying.
“When is that going to stop?” he asked. “It’s only going to stop when we have leadership that has passion, compassion, and a real vision for a better Canada.”
Manly said the Conservatives under Harper have implemented change without consulting or accounting for the wishes of Canadians.
“People have talked about change in this election,” he said. “We have seen nine years of radical change in this country – radical change. I want my country back.”
He said Elizabeth May has held the government to account in Ottawa on many issues. “She needs help in Parliament, and I want to go there and help her. She is a bold leader with a bold vision, and a respectful way of dealing with people in Parliament.”
Election day is Monday, Oct. 19. If you’re not sure of what you need to vote, or where your poll is located, go to the Elections Canada web site at elections.ca