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> Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 > News > Fanshawe debate had parties rallying
Fanshawe debate had parties rallying
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Nathan Swinn
Published: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Forwell Hall was packed with attentive students on October 8. No, it wasn’t the Best Butt Contest, but rather the Federal Election London-Fanshawe All Candidates meeting.
There was one glaring “but”, however. It was an All Candidates Meeting.... but... there was no Conservative Candidate present. Mary Lou Ambrogio had a prior commitment and in her place was Andrew Lawton.
Fanshawe Political Science Professor Matt Farrell organized the event. While he didn’t offer an opinion about which candidate won the debate, Farrell did say that events like the Forwell Hall meeting offer undecided voters a chance to see their potential representatives as real people, speaking to real issues.
Clearly, being in a college setting, the questions posed to candidates took an educational focus. But other questions about same sex marriage, gas prices and access to health care, were also fired at the candidates.
All candidates - even Conservative stand-in Lawton - received applause at various times.
The Green Party’s Daniel O’Neail had a good showing. He was much more composed and well prepared than he was during last year’s provincial all-candidates debate in Forwell Hall. On education, O’Neail said that the Green Party would refund 50 per cent of tuition costs when a student graduated. He also stood his ground and said that gas prices should not be artificially lowered by the government, a comment that didn’t win him a lot of applause.
Liberal Jacquie Gauthier was a little under the weather, but she still displayed energy and strong verbal skills. The free condoms being given out at her booth after the debate was a nice touch, as well.
Lawton, unable to speak directly as a candidate, still managed to make sense on some issues. He reminded the audience that medical care was a provincial matter, and that the federal government cannot control what provinces do in providing health services.
London-Fanshawe’s incumbent NDP MP Irene Mathyssen tried to focus her answers on the NDP policies and the party’s leader, Jack Layton. She was strongest when explaining that far from raising corporate taxes - a charge used by both the Liberals and Conservatives against the NDP - her party would simply keep the corporate tax rate where it was, instead of giving tax breaks to already profitable businesses.
The event was well mannered and well presented, and was surprisingly well attended. A similar all candidates meeting for the provincial election last year failed to bring half as many students to Forwell Hall.
The election takes place on October 14, and everyone involved encouraged the crowd to vote.
For more information on how to vote in this federal election please go to www.elections.ca.