Hello!

You've landed in the archive of the Cambrian House community. We've kept some pages here for posterity but the community is no longer active. Now we market the technology that made our early crowdsourcing a success.

Can we help you get to Cambrian House the company? – Come on over.

Are you seeking crowdsourcing technology? – Check out Chaordix by Cambrian House.

Thanks for dropping by
The Cambrian House Crew

Close [x]
Cambrian House
Cambrian House Blog

Transcript: 2008 Calgary Centre Debate

Consult the original Calgary Centre Debate blog post for candidate index, and alternate audio/video formats of our coverage.

Moderator:
All of the candidates will be offered a two minute opening statement period and the moderator will be fairly ruthless in enforcing that two minutes. I will give each candidate a wind up sign, just like that, when you have 20 second left.

I will begin with four prepared questions, three of which were written by the Student’s Association, and one that will come from the moderator. Following that, microphones are going to be set up in the audience so that you can ask questions.

And what we are going to start out with is a rule that one student, one question. However, if the lines in the question lineup are short, I will allow you to have a supplementary question. Otherwise, I will ask you to go to the very back of the line and wait a second turn.

At the end of the debate, I will reserve some time so that the candidates can give us a one minute final wrap and summation of their positions. So, with that, we’ll begin our debate.

Canada is one of the few GA nations that forces student borrowers to pay an interest rate on their student loans that is significantly higher than the bank’s prime lending rate and the federal government’s cost of borrowing. If your party forms the next government would you reduce current interest rates on Canadian student loans to the real government cost of borrowing as defined by the Canada Student Loans Program?

And we’ll start over here with our independent candidate, Tony Grochowski.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Are we supposed to have an opening statement?

Moderator:
Oh, sorry, you are right. Let’s do the opening statements, reserve the first questions, and then we’ll begin. Tony, would you like to begin with opening statements?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
My name is Tony Grochowski and I live in Calgary Hallways. I came here in 1977 when Calgary was about 420,000 people. I am a widower and I have two children, university age. I am running as an Independent because I found that Canadians are ready to be part of politics.

I hope, if elected, to maintain formal relationships and representation of my writing. Because I will be here, and issues cannot be represented when our parliamentary system fails to represent the people with strict party voting measures. It is time that Canadians have the opportunity to voice themselves and be known participants in the government.

We have the development and conservative values that should produce methodologically sound research on youth crime. There is little evidence produced that youth crime is a growing trend and there is less evidence across the board that our punitive measures lead to a reduction of crime. The end of offender’s reform will, one, many young offenders, potentially leaving them as outcasts, giving them a permanent level as criminals. The prisons are our chances of reentering our society.

Two, put them in jail for a longer period of time while they are still in development, making the risk of this transition more difficult to obtain. This if a form of…

Moderator:
Twenty seconds, Tony.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Sorry?

Moderator:
Twenty seconds left.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Twenty seconds. Thank you very much. I will just say that jails in Canada cost probably about 100,000 for a woman and 50,000 for a man. And if you don’t do Atlantic Provinces, 200,000 per year is the cost to keep a prisoner in a jail.

Moderator:
Thank you Tony.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you. [applause]

Moderator:
Representing the Liberal Party, Heesung Kim. [applause]

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Hello everybody, thanks for having us here. It’s great to address such a large group of people. I’m proud to be here representing the Liberal Party. This election is about value. It’s about choosing the kind of candidate that we want for ourselves and for future Canadians.

I strongly believe in the liberal visions of a fairer, richer, greener Canada. A Canada that abounds in social justice, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

I came to Canada as a young girl, and I moved to Montreal when I was five years old. I grew up poor, but with hard work and the kind of support that Canada has to offer, I was able to succeed. And that’s why I share these liberal values.

Some of you may recall that I was the liberal candidate for Calgary Center in the last election. And it was not my intention to run again. Being a liberal candidate in Calgary is not my idea of a little fun thing I can think of. But, after the election was over, there was a leadership contest and I got to know all of the contestants.

I got really tired, in the last election, of politicians that will do anything and say anything to get elected. And I decided that Stefan Dion was the right person. I wasn’t looking for a leader who is the most likely to get us back into power. I was looking for the best leader for Canada. And Stefan Dion is a man of passion, personal integrity, a thoughtful man with great ideas. And I hope, in the course of this forum, to tell you a little bit more about our great ideas.

In this election, Canadians must choose the kind of Canada they want today and the kind of Canada they want to pass on to their children. I believe we all want a Canada where we look out for each other, where we ensure that no one is left behind, where we can all participate in building a richer, fairer, greener Canada. Thank you. [applause]

Moderator:
Thank you. Representing the New Democratic Party, Tyler Kinch.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Thank you for allowing me to participate in this forum today. I just graduated from the State, so this setting is very familiar to me. And I know a lot of you have a lot of studying to do for your exams and projects to complete. So, I appreciate that you came out today to listen to the people that want to be your MP.

I’m going to start off by describing what my visions and ideals of an MP is. A member of Parliament is elected by the people in his or her constituency. They are given the trust and responsibility to make decisions on their behalf.

An MP is a representative of the community. What they say should reflect the views of the community. They should constantly consult with their constituents and leave their office open to the public. They should consider the impact on their community on each and every vote in the House of Commons and the bills they introduce.

That’s a pretty brief job description, but it is essentially a job… [audio missing between MP3s] …I am yet to receive an answer to that. Yes, our party will reduce current interest rates on Canadian student loans to the real cost of borrowing. We will also invest further in students by bringing down tuition through a post-secondary education act that commits reliable federal funding to problems that commit to lowering their tuition fees. [applause]

Moderator:
Thank you candidate Tyler Kinch. We now move to Heesung Kim of the Liberal Party.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. That’s a very good question and as an example of Stephane Dion’s commitment. We released our platform two weeks ago, so that Canadians can evaluate what Liberal promises are before they go to vote. Now, the Liberal Party has always felt that the opportunity for every Canadian to attend college or university or to complete a skilled trade apprenticeship is central to the future economic success of Canada.

Unfortunately, quality post-secondary education has not been universally available and notwithstanding the status of the MP for the area, there hasn’t been a lot of progress in this issue. The Liberal government in our plans is only including things that we actually believe that we can deliver. Within the first four years of a Liberal Government is promising that we will make guarantee student loans of $5000 available to all students regardless of parental income. [applause]

In addition to this commitment, we will also work with our provisional partners to put an end to the high interest rates that students have to pay on their student loans. We are going to provide a new lower lending rate of only 0.5% over prime. Five plus two is actually quite a lot if you are a struggling student graduating and trying to make ends meet. We will increase the grace period for student loans from six months to two years and make that grace period interest free. And we will also extend the time that students have to pay for those student loans. That’s the real action that our Liberal government would take to help students. [applause]

Moderator:
Thank you. Now, our independent candidate Tony Grochowaski.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. I don’t know from where our moderator took that question that the people in ‘G’ countries paid interest on student loans. I’m telling you there are no student loans in ‘G’ countries, five European countries. There are student loans in Canada and the United States, I’m not so sure in Japan, but I think there is no student loans in Japan, that is unknown territory for me.

I finished my studies in Warsaw, Poland and in fact I paid like a few dollars to get my diploma in leather and it was like Swiss bank. And then, I was studying at [inaudible] at the University in Vienna, in Amsterdam, completely free. And that is something which I know because I have children who is studying or trying to study and my daughter is working, she make income tax and she should get $800 return from income tax, only $600 was paid. And my cousin, she is from Tahiti, my cousin is in Finland. She was working for three months making some $9000, sorry 9000 Euro, which is like $13,100 salary for three months work.

Moderator:
Thank you. Candidate Grochowaski, thank you very much.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much.

Moderator:
I’m going to ask candidates to restrict themselves to the use of the microphone at the table rather than standing, because it causes a lot of effort for our technicians to keep up with the voice, OK? And also candidates, I’m going to restrict your answers to one minute for each of the remaining written questions because I know there are a lot of people here who are interested in lining up and asking questions, so one minute responses please.

Question 2: Although Bill C-61, a bill that contains a series of amendments to the copyright act died on the order paper when this election was called, if it did become law, it would essentially make each citizen who uploads or downloads music or videos from the Internet a criminal. What are your opinions on the bill and what, if anything, would you change about this bill? We are going to start with Heesung Kim this time.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. The Liberal Government - sorry the Liberal Party agrees that the government’s proposed C-61 Bill was flawed and we are not invoking to pass it without proposing amendments. However, we recognize that there is a need to balance the rights of authors and the rights of users. And so to that end, we would conduct open and transparent consultation first before deciding on what amendments of the copyright act would be and we take into account the positions of all interested parties, including users that would like to use digital music and things like that on the Internet.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Tyler Kinch.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
I believe this bill is bad, it’s bad for consumers and it’s bad for content creators. This bill was a complete sellout to industry demands, proper consultations were not done and over 92,000 Canadians have expressed their protest to this bill. We need to ensure that any new copyright legislation ensures the rights of both the creators and the users. Creators agree this bill has seen opposition from the Songwriters Association of Canada and the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, which is a coalition of 209 artists, both small and big.

Creators don’t want to see the Canadian music business become one it has in the United States where record companies are suing 14 year olds. This bill also did not consult consumers. It would have included harsh penalties for individuals seeking to get around digital locks and it would have undermined our time shifting and format shifting rights. And what does that mean: most of the people in this room are criminal. I know that the Calgary chapter of fair copyright for Canada…

Moderator:
Thank you Tyler. [applause]

Natalie Odd.

Natalie Odd (Green):
Well, this bill is very heavy handed against the consumer and really supported the position of industry quite unfairly and you obviously need to have stake holder engagements if you are trying to pass the bill. So, I don’t understand why the government will try to pass the bill without stake holder engagements.

So, I’m really interested to know Mr. Richardson’s position on a lack of stake holder engagement. I mean, honestly there are people creating these works and there is people using them and you have to have a balance, that’s just common sense and to look at one party over the other defies logic.

So, I’m really interested in why Mr. Richardson doesn’t think that we shouldn’t have stake holder engagement before you put something like that through this bill. I mean, what we are looking at is fining people up to $20,000 if they are thought to be downloading something inappropriately. Is that fair? Let me ask Mr. Richardson.

Moderator:
Thank you, Natalie. Before we go to Mr. Richardson, we are going to hear from Tony Grochowaski.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. I am for the development of culture and especially culture in English-Canada. As far as Quebec, part of Canada, they are for culture, they are very much developed and the one reason that they are thinking about kind of speaking from Canada is because the central government is restricting the development of culture and restricting payments. So, I don’t see a problem here. I think, everybody has to use culture and rethink many, many times for rights. One time you are buying the same music on tape, then on disk, then on some other records…

Moderator:
Thank you, Tony. Thank you very much.

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much.

Moderator:
Lee Richardson, please.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Thank you. Yeah, this is a bill with… [missing audio between MP3 files] …updated and modernized the copyright act. It’s been 10 years since the act has been significantly amended, and in that time of course, we’ve seen products like DVD, MP3 Players, Blackberry’s, new technologies. To fully enjoy these technologies, consumers as well as our developers, need certainty know about what they can and can’t do. These things certainly weren’t addressed in the previous bill.

I’ll be pleased to respond to Ms. Odd’s comment about $20,000 fines and criminals. Frankly, the truth of the matter is that the $20,000 fine is in the current bill. This is the bill that we’re amending. We’re amending that to limit the amount of fines to individuals to $500. The reason for these fines in the first place was to prevent widespread pirating and commercial theft of copyright material.

Moderator:
Thank you, Candidate Richardson. Third prepared question: Popular concern regarding the state of our environment has reached an economy that’s unseen in past elections. At the same time, the Canada economy currently relies heavily on the export of it’s natural resources for growth and continued prosperity. In your opinion, how should Canada work to transition its economy into one that is both economically and environmentally sustainable?

We will begin with Natalie Odd.

Natalie Odd (Green):
OK, as I mentioned before, this is the biggest opportunity, but also the biggest threat in a place as Canada. In the Green Party, we look at the economy and the environment as two things that are necessarily integrated, and we need to start creating green jobs. That is what is going to get us through economic crisis, and get us a really resilient and stable economy.

We talked a lot about reducing emissions, and the truth is that if we implemented the technologies that we currently have access to, we will reduce our emissions by 50% - like that! Why isn’t that happening? We have tremendous opportunity with geothermal, wind, solar, tidal. It’s there for the taking, but someone in our government is asleep at the controls, and doesn’t seem to care what happens to us in the future.

What we need to do is, we need to have stronger local economies, we need to invest in small business, and in particular in rural business, we need to have national and regional self-sufficiency with economic diversification, we have to increase spare trade, and we have to add value to the resources that we’re manufacturing, instead of shipping out raw logs for someone else to work on and sell back to us more expensive. Why do we do that? [applause]

Moderator:
Thank you, Natalie. Lee Richardson.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Thank you. Obviously, because of our geography, particularly here in Alberta, Canada has immense and we’ve got diverse natural resources. Canada must not just be an energy provider; we’ve got to be a clean energy provider.

The Conservative government has already taken steps to protect Canada’s environment, including the first ever mandatory emission reduction targets on Canadian industry, and to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 20% by 2020 and cut air pollution in half by 2015.

When it comes to balancing energy, security, the environment, and the economy, the other parties are offering granulous, risky, and unproven theories. Our plan is credible, achievable, and will put Canada in a position as both a leader in economic growth and environmental protection.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Tyler Kinch?

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
I believe there is no greater threat to our planet right now than drastic climate change. The result of drastic climate change will affect our quality of life and our economic system. It’s economically sound to prevent this from happening.

We must plan for a future where our energy consumption is drastically reduced, and all our energy comes from renewable resources, and this is possible. A crucial part of reducing pollution and fighting global warming must be substantial, new investments in renewable energy sources.

Only the carbon tax, our plan, will have long-term goals with short-term targets. Those targets will be reviewed every year to ensure that we’re on the right track to reducing our emissions. If there are any industries that can’t meet our targets, we’re going to make them pay, and that money is going to be reinvested into green solutions with the Liberal Party.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Moderator:
Heesung Kim?

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. Well, this is a perfect opportunity to explain the "Green Shift" to you. It’s a perfect example of a great idea, and a stamp of Dion’s courage to do the right thing, even if it’s not the easy thing.

Simply put, it’s a broad-based tax cut that will be paid for by putting a price on pollution. The atmosphere should not be treated as a free garbage dump. Polluters will pay a carbon tax based on fossil fuels consumed, not fossil fuels produced. So, it won’t hurt the oil industry, the conventional oil and gas producers don’t use any more fossil fuel to drill or pump than any other industry.

It will cost money for the oil fans producers that use natural gas to produce their oil, but it will give them a powerful incentive to find a better way to do it, for example, geothermal energy; and at the same time it will address the criticism of dirty oil.

A good chunk of the carbon tax will be paid by non-Canadians. However, all of the tax cuts will go to Canadians, tax cuts that will stimulate the economy, significant tax cuts of up to 10% of personal income tax.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Tony Grochowski?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. That is not new, the idea was the first time created by the Cloud of Rome in the ’60s, and it was very popular then. Even Canadian government and the Latin government, they spend a lot of efforts, and a lot of money, to creating and super think energy efficiency in over a thousand homes, and there is some programs with….

Canada was leading, as far as energy efficiency in housing. Suddenly, in the mid ’90s, everything disappeared with the government of Ron Barany, and in Alberta here, Ralph Klein. So, we have been on the top, 10-20 years ago, we are not anymore. We have to look elsewhere, and that is very vital, very important.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. [applause]

Candidates, the fourth prepared question. I think, only Lee and Tyler have not been given the opportunity to answer first, so which ever one of you would like to go first, that’s fine.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
We didn’t have a fourth prepared question.

Moderator:
Pardon?

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
I never got a fourth prepared question.

Moderator:
That’s because it’s my question.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Oh, OK!

Moderator:
You know, a former journalist never telegraphs his punches, right? [heesung kim laughs]

Here we go: In light of the current financial turmoil in the world’s money markets, and if your party was elected to government, what is the first thing your government would do to calm those Canadians who are deeply worried about the financial crisis we seem to be in?

So, Tyler or Lee - which one would like to go first? Go ahead, Lee.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
I answered the first question first.

Moderator:
I think you did; then Tyler, it’s yours.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
I think, what’s happening down in the United States, we have to take that as a wakeup call, unregulated markets do not work. We need to insure that we do a proper review of our financial institutions, which is a large portion of our markets, and ensure that we’re not making the same mistakes that the United States made, and that they’re following our regulations. If anymore regulations need to be implemented, those should be reviewed and discussed.

I would advocate that we start this review immediately after we were elected as government, and we… [missing audio from between MP3 files] …consult the proper institutions to ensure that this review is done properly, and our banks don’t crash like the United States banks have been crashing.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Candidates, who would like to go next, Heesung?

Independent?

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. Well the Liberal Party feels that unlike the conservative ideology of free markets with laissez faire hands-off approach to the economy, that a government really does have a role to protect the savings and investments of Canadians.

So in response to the current economic turmoil, Stephane Dion did issue a five-point plan, that would take effect immediately within 30 days of a Liberal government, where we would meet with the financial institutions, and provincial, like territorial partners, and the people that are the experts in this, to determine how to best go about instituting measures to protect the savings of Canadians.

There’s been some fairly detailed information set up, but this is a government that has a team, and a plan, and not just reassuring Canadians that nothing bad is happening.

Moderator:
Thank you. Who’s next? Natalie?

Natalie Odd (Green):
Thank you. Yes, we are facing a crisis here, and we absolutely have to review our financial institutions to see how they can best serve Canadians. We have to take a close look, and we have to have a long-term plan.

And part of that plan needs to be basing our economy on a system that’s resilient, so that means not being so dependent on trade with the United States. 70% of our economy is based on trade with the United States, so of course we’re going to be affected if they have a downturn.

What we need to do is have green - our economy needs to be based on green jobs. We need to make sure that that will protect our transportation system, which is very dependent on fossil fuels. We need to look at renewable energies, and that will also keep us more secure in the future.

I’d just like to add that Sir Nicholas Stern, who was World Bank’s former Chief Economist has said, "That if we don’t face climate change, it’s going to cost us as much as $7 trillion dollars." So if we think this is bad, if we don’t look at climate change, we’re in for a lot worse. So, there is a lot that we can do right now.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Lee Richardson, go ahead.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Yeah, I think that Canadians will be reassured with the election of a conservative majority government. We have said from the outset, we will continue with consistent course of economic and fiscal policy. We have said from the beginning we would cut taxes and make affordable tax reductions, reduce the public debt.


This is why Canada today, is better positioned than any country in the western world to deal with the global consequences of an economic downturn. We will maintain a steady course of our prudent, financial responsibility to the country.

Moderator:
Thank you. Tony?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. As you know, I’m Independent, with little chance of becoming Prime Minister of the government, but I will go and see what my countrymens, and try to find out their problems. That’s what the current MP was [inaudible] doing.


I think we have about 5,000 homeless people in Canada that will still remain homeless. And about one million undernourished children in Canada, they will still be that way. There is a huge [inaudible] kind of thinking that they may lose that what they have. I think by the time that something is going on front page in the newspapers, it is already over. I think it is over…

Moderator:
Thank you, Tony. Thank you. [applause]

Now candidates we move to what’s popular, voice of the people, questions from all of these people who are gathered out here. Where is the back microphone? There is supposed to be two, so there’s one? OK, right down there? OK, so we have two microphones.


Candidates, we’re going to let each individual ask a question. You may ask a question to all of the candidates, or to just one. If you ask only one candidate or direct your question only to one candidate, I will ensure that you all have a chance for rebuttal to that answer.

So, ready at the front, go right ahead.

Student:
Hi, I just want to thank the candidates for coming, and Mark for always coming and helping the students out so much.


So my question has to do with the carbon tax. I’ll base it to all the candidates, but really maybe the three or four major parties can attest to this. I just want to know why the carbon tax is being criticized as an economic tax, rather than actually talking about the issue itself, that the green shift is actually a cost neutral tax and your income tax will be lower in place of this.

So I just want to know why it’s being talked about as an economic policy, instead of everybody actually dealing with the actual issue of climate change.
Moderator:
Who wants to start off on this one? Tony wants to start off, Tony?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
I think in answer to your question, as you know I am Independent, it is not my problem. But I think it is very good. It doesn’t matter where it’s from, the tax is coming; the government needs taxes. I think it’s kind of idea which is very smart. So what I’m thinking that it’s misunderstood and unnecessary, because conservative party is jumping into this, and try to scare the people.


No, not trying to scare, I guess. They’ll get taxes from somewhere else, OK? If not from that part, they’ll get it from the other part. They are big spenders. They are big, big spenders, like read about Maxine [Bernier?], how much he was spending…

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. Who’s next? Who would like to answer this question? Natalie?

Natalie Odd (Green):
Sure. Yep, I’d love to answer this question, thank you for bringing this up. You hear a lot of these Conservatives saying that we’re trying to increase taxes, but it’s a very simple thing that in the English language "shift" is not an increase. Two different things. So I just wanted to clear that up in the vocabulary. [applause]

And what we’re doing, the principle is, you tax things the things that you want to have decrease. That means you’re sending an economic signal, "We want to decrease pollution, we want to decrease climate change." What this does is it compels innovation, and it compels companies to implement technologies for renewable energy, which is a very good thing.

So I don’t know if Conservatives are against renewable energies, it would be good for Mr. Richardson to clarify that. We want to increase renewable energies, and we want to decrease income tax, so you can take more money home at the end of the day.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. [applause]

Who would like to answer next? Tyler.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
I’d like to start out by saying that I think Mr. Richardson’s party has been deceitful on this issue. Like Natalie said, "It is a shift, it’s not an increase." However, the New Democrats are opposed to the carbon tax, and there are many reasons why.


We don’t think it’s the most effective way with dealing with our climate change. We’re proposing a cap-and-trade system instead. What we’re proposing with the cap-and-trade system is long-term targets, or long-term goals, which are important. Because with just the tax, with no goals, you’re not going to see the reductions that we need, to adjust this problem.

It’s also going to have short-term targets, which will be reviewed every year. There will be revenue if we don’t reach those targets, unlike the Liberal plan which is revenue neutral.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. Who would like to answer next, Heesung?

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Well, I’d like to go after Lee Richardson, because I’d like to have him tell us why he feels that it’s such a bad idea to have a carbon tax, before I say what I have to say.

Moderator:
Well, if he can do… [missing audio] …answer, but you are taking away from your one minute by doing that.

Natalie Odd (Green):
Oh, I see, OK. So, what do I have now, 15 seconds?

Moderator:
You still have a minute.

Natalie Odd (Green):
All right. Well, the issue that has been brought up is that the green shift will not reduce pollution. Well the fact is that it will. Because business relies on certainty and they rely on saving money for their shareholders. So to say that it’s not going to make any difference, it’s not going to reduce pollution, it’s an outright lie.

If you are an oil [inaudible] producer and you are using one gigajoule of natural gas per barrel of oil and you are paying millions of dollars in taxes, whereas if you invested millions of dollars in a geothermal system you could, a) get a tax credit for it, and b) save the carbon taxes, what you think they’re going to do? Of course they’re going to invest in renewable energy.

That’s why it’s such a good idea. It’ll give you all kinds of tax cuts to stimulate the economy, which everyone agrees is the best way to do it. And it will save the environment by giving people an incentive to invest in green technology.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. [applause]

Pete. [applause]

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
First of all, I have never said that I would not reduce pollution, that’s not what we’re intending to do. Our concern is that it’s a tax on everything. We talk about a shift to pollution, we’re going to cut taxes and shift it to pollution. Well, what pollution is that? Where does the money coming from when you tax pollution? Where are you going to tax pollution, in Alberta? Are you going to tax the electricity companies that burn coal to produce our electricity here?


I’m sure that would be a thing that you might want to do. To tax those CO2 emissions from the burning of coal for the electricity that we all use in our homes and here in the college.


The electricity company cannot continue to provide electricity at the same cost it does if they’ve all of a sudden got a new huge tax. They’re simply going to pass that increased taxation on to the customer. So it’s going to come to you eventually anyway.


If we don’t shift it to the moon it will shift it out of the equation by saying you are shifting the tax to pollution. Where ever you go its got to come from somewhere. To replace those tax cuts the money has to come from somewhere and it’s ultimately going to come from you, the taxpayer.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

We have a question at the microphone.

Student:
At first I would like to thank everybody that made this entire session possible including these candidates that who are addressing our questions here.

Moderator:
Can you get a little closer to your microphone please?

Student:
Yeah, of course. My question I would like to address, or leave open to all of the candidates, but I would more specifically like to hear from the NDP themselves on this question. And my question is: As we see, we have seen a hundred or so soldiers in Afghanistan pay the ultimate price in projecting Canadian ideals internationally. What my question would be is, what do you candidates believe your price is to pay projecting these same very ideals?

Moderator:
Thank you, we will go to Tyler first.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Thank you for your question. Our party, back in 2006 made the announcement that our position is to withdraw from Afghanistan. And the reason for that is because it is unbalanced right now. For every eight dollars that is being spent on combat, only one dollar is being spent on aid and reconstruction.


I am not going to answer your question directly, unfortunately, but I do believe that the soldiers who do fight in Afghanistan and around the world, wearing our uniform are brave men and they should be honored because they follow orders. And that’s very important that we have soldiers that will follow orders and they should be commended for that.


But that doesn’t stop me from questioning the policies of our government and what they ask those soldiers to do. It’s a democracy and I think that’s an important right.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Candidates, [inaudible] wishes to speak.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Yeah, I think we should point out that Canada remains in Afghanistan today for the same reasons that we engaged with that country in the first place. Canada and the world have a strategic interest in securing a self sufficient, democratic and a stable Afghanistan that never again provides a safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations.

This came to Parliament when I had been in Parliament; this commitment was made up to 10 years ago to go into Afghanistan by the previous government. We supported that following 9/11 and further terrorists activities that pursued at that time.

In terms of our commitment and ongoing presence in Afghanistan, before Parliament adjourned in the spring a motion was passed that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011. And as of that date the redeployment of Canadian troops out of Kandahar and replacement by Afghan forces will start as soon as possible so that we will have it completed by December 2011.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Any other candidates wish to speak on this? Heesung Kim.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Sure, thank you. Canada has a proud history of being peacekeepers and rebuilders. We don’t have a history of being an army at war. We went to Afghanistan as part of a NATO and United Nations effort to create a more stable Afghanistan after a quarter century of Russian occupation and Taliban rule, and to help rebuild Afghanistan.


The liberals are urging Parliament to come together on a new change mission for Canada in Afghanistan until 2011. A mission that will put diplomacy and humanitarian intervention at the heart of our effort, and to focus our troops on supporting the intervention and training the Afghan army and police. We are not a military that has a combat mission in Afghanistan. We do now, but that has to change. We need to go back to our proud tradition of being rebuilders and peacekeepers.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Natalie would you like to respond?

Natalie Odd (Green):
Yeah, thanks very much. I also want to state my support for our soldiers, men and women, both of whom have lost their lives, and we are almost up to 100 soldiers now. And its totally devastating, gut wrenching every time you hear we’ve lost another Canadian. We have to give them a fighting chance and the situation has become so ugly in Afghanistan, we recently had an English brigadier there saying that we can’t win this war and we have to do something differently.


The thing with war is you have to be tactical. You have to be vigilant about what’s happening every single day and what you are going to be facing the next day, and you have to adapt accordingly. What we need to do is we need to build the Afghan army and police force so that they can protect themselves in the long term. And that’s the role that Canadian army should have.


We just heard from Peter McCay, of the conservatives, yesterday, saying that he would support the negotiations with the Taliban, or discussions with the Taliban if it was spearheaded by the Afghan National Army. We have to do something different from what’s happening because the situation is getting worse and worse.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. [applause]

Tony, do you wish to say anything else?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Yes. Unless the government has developed a clear strategy of our mission in Afghanistan there should be a reason to leave. Strategists in security such as [inaudible] in 19th century German [inaudible] of war encouraged walking out on a mission which has lost the purpose of why we went there.


Canada should, however, continue to develop Afghanistan. If the whole NATO cannot win a war in Afghanistan I would like to invite them and tell them how they are doing this? I am very sad when I hear about the loss of Canadian soldiers and other soldiers over there at the rate which is higher than Viet Nam war and sometimes as high as Second World War.

Moderator:
Thank you very much.


At the microphone.

Student:
Thank you for coming here. My question is for the Liberal candidate. I consider myself to be quite liberal. And I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet. I’m wondering how I can be expected to trust, much less nominate, a party that has a well-documented recent history of misspending millions of dollars of tax payers’ money, misleading the public, and overall been shown to be inherently corrupt. My question is: What’s changed in this party since these scandals were made public?

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Heesung.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
I’m assuming you’re referring to Adscam? OK. Well, that’s something that happened a long time ago, and the Liberal Party has learned from it. But, to suggest that Abscam was a uniquely Liberal Party issue is really unfair.

I mean, any group of people are going to have people that are dishonest, corrupt, and will steal money - any group. And to sort of single out the Liberal Party is, I guess, it’s an excuse. The fact is Stephane Dion is a man of principal, honor, and personal integrity. He’s released a platform that’s very modest and achievable in four years. This is a different Liberal Party. And if it wasn’t, I certainly would not be running again, I can tell you that.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Any other candidates want to address this? Seeing none, we’re going to move up.
Tony Grochowski (Independent):
As an independent, you will not have those problems with me about that. What I’m trying to say: what started this and certain areas have to be uncovered like spending and areas with the formally Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney taking $300,000 cash without paying any taxes on it.

And then the Revenue Cabinet is going and taxing students like you and small people who cannot make the end meets. Thank you.

Moderator:
Thank you. Now, we’re going to spend some time with our questions up on the second floor.

Student:
Thank you very much for coming out to speak to all the candidates. My question is this: What is each party’s platform in tackling the social problems afflicting aboriginal Canadians? [applause]

Moderator:
Who would like to go first? Anyone want to go first? Go ahead, Lee.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
I’ll just comment on that, because basically, it’s an interesting question and one that came from the balcony at our last debate here at Memorial College. I think, we’ve seen a major turnaround in the policies present in all of the parties. I think, we’ve seen a clear reflection of the concerns expressed by Canadians to government.

I think, the apology on Residential Schools was a turning point in Canadian history with regard to our relations with natives. The consultations that took place during that time not only went to the things that brought us to the apology on behalf of all Canadians to aboriginal Canadians, but why we got there, what other problems and concerns we need to be dealing with, and we established a rapport and a way to deal with matters in an open and transparent way and a free dialogue that I think are going a long way to resolve a lot of the traditional concerns that we’ve had.

In terms of specific policies, I could go on about the tremendous job that my colleague in Calgary Center North, Jim Prentice did as a Native Affairs Minister in terms of finally getting to resolve treaties across the country.

Moderator:
Thank you very much.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
To bring rights to women on reserves. And there’s just a large number of things that Jim did. And I’m very proud of the record of this current government.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Who else would like to answer this question? Tyler.

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
This year, First Nation communities in Canada and all Canadians shared a historic moment when that apology was issued for the tragically misery of the Indian Residential Schools. But, that was only a first step. And now we need to go and continue on the second step, which is real action.

What the New Democrats are proposing is an investment of $5 billion over five years in First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities to improve health services; provide adequate housing, water and infrastructure, including traditional healing, nutrition, and addiction treatment and suicide prevention. We must implement aggressive new efforts in education and training for children, youth and adults, encouraging participation in both the public and private sector.

And we need to continue and get the federal government back into the business of affordable housing, which was cut back in the 90s. And that’s when our homeless problem exploded, which far too many aboriginals are a part of that population now. And it’s because of those cuts…

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. [applause]

Who else? Tony?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
I think, we have problems with aboriginal people, with the native people. Lots of them are homeless. Lots of them are without any means. And we have to help them. And we have to encourage them also to tell us how we have to do it.

And also, we have to go to some countries like Northern Europe - Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia - to see how they are dealing with those problems, because they have also native populations over there, and they’re dealing quite in a different way, not like here in Canada.

And I know that native people, they have a kind of developed brotherhood with other native people around the world and in Northern Europe and some of the parts of North America. Thank you.

Moderator:
Thank you. Natalie. [applause]

Natalie Odd (Green):
Thank you for that question. We’re 20 years with Amnesty International, fighting for human rights. And aboriginal rights are very, very critical. We talked a little bit about poverty. We have 15% poverty in Canada. And that rate is much higher among the aboriginal community.

And the Green Party has a very full program of what we would do to work with the aboriginal community. And I want to just touch on a few of those. We have to ensure that the negotiations of treaties and self-government are not based on the extinguishment of aboriginal titles and rights. And we should fully implement the recommendations of the 1996 Report of the World Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

We have a UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People that the Conservative government is opposing, if you can imagine that. And we also have the Kelowna Accord. This is a $5.1 billion program, which was reached in collaboration with the Federal, Provincial, Territorial, and First Nations governments to actually get going and doing something about lack of healthcare and lack of education amongst the aboriginal community, and how we can work to make sure those are fully accessible to the aboriginals that want to…

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. [applause]

Heesung.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. The Liberal party recognizes that aboriginals disproportionately live lives of poverty and uncertainty. And as Natalie said, the Kelowna Accord represented an historic partnership, committing over $5 billion to health, education, and housing for aboriginals.

Unfortunately, this program was cancelled by the Conservative government. A new Liberal government would bring back the Kelowna Accord over the course of its mandate. It would sign and ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. And we would improve access to healthcare for First Nations, including implementing the Jordan’s Principle, where the agency of first contact would take charge. So, these are solid measures that the Liberal Party would take on as the government in improving the lives and health of the aboriginals.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Questioner on the balcony mic.

Student:
Hi.


Moderator:
Could you move a little closer, please?


Student:
My question is directed more towards the Green Party. You said that when students graduate, if they have a student loan, that you would cut their principle down by 50 percent. So, my question is, what about the students who do not take out student loans? What financial benefit will you have for them? [applause]

Natalie Odd (Green):
Great question.


Moderator:
Natalie, we’ll begin with you.


Natalie Odd (Green):
Thank you. I got pretty worked up about the question of what it costs students to go to university. And actually, what our transfer payments would do is reduce tuition for students who are paying tuition, because we need to do a couple of things: We need to reduce tuition so it’s accessible for those that can’t pay, and we need to open up more spots. There’s a lot of qualified candidates that are being turned away, and [inaudible] larger classrooms, as well as, institutions are becoming reliant upon corporate research dollars.

So, we absolutely have to reduce tuition payments, and the federal government has a role to play in that in making transfers to the provincial government. As well, we would make sure, on a needs basis, there’s grants and scholarships available for students. So, we absolutely would reduce tuition, and as I mentioned, reduce the interest rate on student loans and forgive 50 percent upon completion.


Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Who else would like to weigh in on this one? I’m just going to see if the others on the panel want to weigh in on this one. Heesung?


Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Yeah, thank you, thank you. I just wanted to point out something that’s in the Liberal platform. It’s all available online. So, anybody who has an interest in more detail can certainly look at it. But, one of the things that… The question before was related to student loans, but a Liberal government would create a 20-year education endowment fund worth $25 billion with 200,000 needs-based bursaries of $3500 a year. So, for people who are unable to afford a higher education, there would be access to a fund that wouldn’t involve taking out debilitating student loans.


Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]

Tony, I think, you wanted to speak?

Tony Grochowski (Independent):
My answer is very short. Abolish tuition. There should be no tuition. There’s no tuition in most of the G8 countries, and in Europe. And I would encourage you, if you have dual citizenship and you have citizenship of one of the European countries, just go there and study there for free, OK? Kiss goodbye to student hunter. OK? [cheering]


Moderator:
Thank you. Anyone else want to weigh in? Tyler and Lee.


Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Reducing tuition payments, or tuition at all, is very important, and I would also like to see, some day, in Canada, where nobody needs to pay for an education. The most qualified candidates get a free education, because that shows that our government, they recognize the importance of a trained and educated workforce.

And in the meantime, we will increase need-based grants. I know of many fellow students from high school who did not go into university or college that were very bright people, but they could not afford to go into university or college. The student loans were way too high, and the grants and the scholarships were not enough to cover everything.

So, we need to first ensure that those who are qualified to go into our education systems, they have the chance to.


Moderator:
Thank you. Lee. [applause]


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
That’s a good point, and I wanted to follow up on a couple of points that were made and reiterate that a lot of the problem, the concern, the reasons why tuition fees are high, why we need to borrow more student loans, is that over the 10 years in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Liberals got $25 billion in transfer payments to the provinces. And that was money that was used to help fund post-secondary education for Canadian students.

And under the Liberals, in that time, tuition fees more than doubled in many provinces. And by contrast, in 2007, on our budget, the Harper government invested $2.4 billion in post-secondary education through the Canada Social Transfer, sending it back to the provinces. This is a 40 percent increase over the current funding levels.


Moderator:
Thank you. [applause]


Floor microphone, don’t lose hope, we’re going to come back to you, but I want to take one more question from the balcony.


Student:
I have a question for the Liberal Party. Right now, Alberta’s economy is very stable, at the moment. And I’m just wondering, with past experiences with Liberal governments like Chretien and Martin, would Dion, as a citizen of Quebec, would he put Alberta’s economy at risk, our taxes to support Quebec?


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Absolutely, absolutely.


Moderator:
Heesung?


Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Well, first of all, that’s not really a fair statement, that the Liberal government has done this. There was various things in place that happened 30 years ago that people have a very fuzzy idea of what it was, and they’ve been using that to bash the Liberals in Alberta for a really, really long period of time, and quite unfairly, because a lot of that had to do with world economy.

As far as the Green Shift goes, as I said before, it’s not going to unfairly impact Albertan industries because they don’t burn very much more, other than the oil sands, they don’t burn very much more than any other industries. Everybody across Canada, people consume the same amount of energy, so it’s pretty even.

I think, one thing you might want to ask Mr. Harper is why his election promises are giving $984 per person to Quebec and $15 per person to Albertans.


Moderator:
Thank you. [cheering]


Who else wants to weigh in on this? Tony put up his hand first.


Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you for the question. Mr. Dion is, I know he is citizen of France, because of his mother, and he was studying in France, in Paris, probably for free, and his mother, so far, is a citizen of Quebec. After separation, he may be, or he may remain Canadian, and may apply for Quebec citizenship as well, because they have much better system than Alberta as far as university education and [inaudible]. Thank you.


Moderator:
Anyone else want to weigh in? Lee?


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Yeah, I just want to make a comment on transfer payments to various provinces. We have a long-established equalization formula in the provinces. Some provinces are better equipped, through natural resources and better management of their provinces than others. Alberta is blessed with natural resources and has had competent, stable, and good fiscal manages of our economy over the last 20 years - 30 years, really.

Canada is in the better position. Alberta does send more than we take from the national coffers. That is a traditional equalization payment program that is long-established in the country. We’re all Canadians, despite where we live.


Moderator:
Thank you. Natalie.


Natalie Odd (Green):
Yeah. We have been enjoying some economic prosperity here in Alberta, although I’d like us to keep in mind that it doesn’t benefit everybody. We still have a lot of problems with homelessness and poverty right here in Alberta, so let’s not forget that. [applause]

We’d like to see some trickle-up happening, not just the trickle-down that actually doesn’t get down to people. [applause]

And Canadians are working more hours and taking home less money, which is why we want to reduce income tax.

What I’d like to say about this economic stability that we have: We have to take whatever wealth that we get and invest it in our future. And that means renewable energies, because that’s what we’re going to need in the future. We can’t just put all our eggs in one basket with this polluting fossil fuel energy source. We have to plan for the future.

Moderator:
Thank you. [applause] Anyone else?


Tyler Kinch (NDP):
The prime minister of Canada needs to make sure that the needs of every province is taken care of, and that includes Alberta and every other province. And what I ask of Mr. Harper is, what are the Harper’s Conservatives doing to help the average working Albertan make ends meet each month? I don’t see him doing anything.

And unlike Harper, New Democrats will deliver more on important issues. We will ensure that every Canadian has access to a family doctor through our plan of forgiving the student loans of doctors who pledge to work in our Canadian system in family practice and that’s a very small price to pay to ensure that every Canadian has a family doctor. We will ensure that there is good quality affordable childcare and we will help Albertans that are being left behind by the boom. Right now we don’t have a provincial government that does that and we don’t have a federal government. It is time that we elect an MP that will ensure that no one is left behind. [applause]


Moderator:
Candidates, before I go to the next question, we are going to move into an old game show, it is called the rapid response round. So, I am going to limit your answers to 30 seconds in the hopes of getting in as many as we can before your final statements. So, 30-second responses please. Questioner before mic.


Student:
Hi, my question is mostly for Lee Richardson. It is about American soldiers who have chosen not to fight in the war in Iraq because they believe it is illegal and they don’t want to go to Iraq where they are going to be forced to break international law and the Geneva Conventions and some of them have come to Canada to seek refuge.

And on June 3rd, the Canadian government passed a motion that asks for those military soldiers to be able to stay in Canada and afterwards Angus Reid did a poll and 64% of Canadians want them to stay. So, my question is: why is the Conservative government not enacting this motion and has allowed deportations of American soldiers back to the States where they have been put into prison?


Moderator:
Lee.


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
I am not sure that is the case and I think that there is a difference that you won’t be aware of between deserters, people who enlisted voluntarily and joined the army and then of their own volition again, decided that they didn’t want to live up to their commitment and they are deserters. These are not that bad reservation - people that are contentious objectors that don’t want to be involved in military or in the war to begin with. They didn’t sign up, they didn’t enlist…


Moderator:
Thank you. Candidates, because we are subject to some external interference here, I am going to ask you to reconnect those microphones. Who would like to respond? Natalie?


Natalie Odd (Green):
Sure. This is something I have been very concerned about and because I have been working with Anderson Cash on human rights. No one should be forced to break the law - simple as that - and Canada should support that. [applause]


Moderator:
Thank you. Who’s next? Tyler?


Tyler Kinch (NDP):
I’d just like to say, these are not deserters, they are resisters. This war in Iraq is illegal and these soldiers that are resisting this war should be commended. They are holding up the basic principles of international law and Mr. Harper must respect that and then he must also respect the law of parliament who passed the law asking that these resisters to not be deported. And there are other laws that have been passed in parliament too that Harper has refused to act on. Mr. Harper does not have a majority. As a minority, he must respect…


Moderator:
Thank you very much. Heesung?


Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Thank you. I think, the real issue is whether or not the Conservative government and Mr. Harper are more interested in cozying up to the Americans and maintaining a strong independent voice for Canada in Iraq. [applause]


Moderator:
Tony?


Tony Grochowski (Independent):
I think, it is a difficult question, but we have to know what is the situation. As I understand and this is not conscription in the United States, so those people are volunteers and Canada has a difficult situation. I myself am a refugee from eastern Europe, in Poland, and I couldn’t also go to my neighbor’s country, so I would keep it that way, like I don’t think so, we still reach a point…


Moderator:
Thank you very much. To the well please.


Student:
This is a question for Mr. Richards. Recently in parliament you made some comments about the work habits of immigrants versus white people, how do you defend those comments and how does that give you any sort of right to worldly run in a constituency that is made up of multicultural and immigrants versus native Canadians?


Moderator:
Lee Richardson.


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Perhaps I could ask you what comment you are referring to?


Student:
Now, I don’t have the exact same line; it’s kind of a long paraphrase. This would be the comment where you were talking about how immigrants do not have the same work habits as "white people?"


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
No, I didn’t say that.


Student:
Well, then correct me, what was that?


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
I don’t know what you are talking about.


Student:
Yes you do, yes you do.


Moderator:
Anyone else wish to ask question?


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Let me say this then, because I was expecting a similar question perhaps with a little more knowledge or background, however in an interview in a publication about recent shootings in Calgary, I made remarks about the serious problems about youth gang crime and discussed at length Bill C2, which is a bill passed in parliament, the anti-violent crime bill.

During the discussion of youth gangs in Calgary, I sensed the reporter construing my comments to a general comment about all crime and all immigrants. During the interview when I realized that my comments could be misconstrued in a way that does not reflect my longstanding support for immigration and diversity, I immediately clarified my intent. I told the reporter immediately that was not my intent. Those that know me know my long record of public service that I have always supported immigration and I have worked closely with cultural communities.


Moderator:
Thank you Mr. Richardson. Thank you.


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Well, I think, it is important to clarify this because some people came just for this reason.


Moderator:
With the approval of the rest of candidates, do you wish to allow him extra time?


Natalie Odd (Green):
Yeah.


Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Sure.


Moderator:
You have their approval another minute sir.

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
Of course.

Lee Richardson (Conservative):
I think, 35 years of public service will lend to the fact that I have worked closely and have served well with both cultural communities and immigration and our cultural communities. Even my Liberal opponent here today was reported in the same article as saying, I know him, and it doesn’t seem to his character. On that point, she is right and I thank you Ms. Kim for that comment.

I deal daily with a majority of immigration cases that come to members of parliament offices in our city and more than any other MP. We deal with them because we care and because we have the expertise. I am proud of what I and the Conservative party have done to attract and assist new Canadians and I will continue to make that a priority if I am reelected as a member of parliament.

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Anyone else wish to weigh in on this?

Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Well, I think Mr. Richardson is being quite dishonest. If you read the comments in fast forward for yourself, you can see exactly what he said. He was specifically referring to immigrants and refugees and he said they don’t have the same work habits as us and that basically it is not the people next door that are committing these crimes.

And he says he was talking about youth gangs, I don’t think he is being honest there and I think that Calgary Center deserves an apology for those comments. I still haven’t heard an apology, all I have heard is regrets for the words that he chose and you must apologize, thank you. [applause]

Moderator:
Anyone else wish to weigh in on this? Natalie?

Natalie Odd (Green):
I was really concerned for a number of reasons that have already been raised, very much so because when it comes to the issue of crime, although crime has been going down for the last three years on a national level, we have certain issues here and the main determinants of crime are poverty and drug addiction and I don’t hear that being discussed and that really really worries me. [applause]

To lift people out of poverty, we have to educate them which means making education more accessible, it follows, it is logical. Drug addiction, let’s talk about drug addiction and one of the reasons we have a lot of problems here is because we have this huge influx of money and young people who are buying a lot of recreational drugs and that’s why we are seeing such an increase specifically here in Alberta.

Moderator:
Thank you. Heesung?

Heesung Kim (Liberal):
I think, the issue is one of judgment. As an elected representative, there are certain things that you don’t say and even if you think those things. This is a perfect example, you hear all kinds of hateful things on the street that people say, but if you repeat them, it gives them legitimacy and that’s the reason why it was a very poor thing to say. But more importantly, as Natalie said, it was in response to a question about crime and to suggest that, that’s one of the things that should be a factor in how you deal with crime is ridiculous.


Do not say that you have to deal with the criminal justice system, you have to deal with safer neighborhoods, you have to deal with crime and poverty and the root causes of crime, opportunities for young people, education, those are actions that a responsible MP would give in answer to those kinds of questions. [applause]


Moderator:
Thank you. Tony?


Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. Thank you. There shouldn’t be minister or MP who make comments about increasing crime from minorities when they have no legal defense to support those claims. And there is a defense that minorities in Canada from all walks of life are more likely to be questioned by police with little evidence of committing a crime.


And actually my opinion is that what Mr. Richardson wanted to say is kind of saying that some people don’t understand this, what is the issue but he was saying directly so that later on we can back off that problem. And that’s what my feeling here is and definitely I would need further clarification. I also think that I never got any help from Mr. Richardson in my problems with income tax because he is maybe thinking that…

Moderator:
Thank you very much. Thank you. [applause]

Candidates, I am sorry, we are going to have to just point the rest of you at the microphone. The time has now come in our debate today to offer final comments.

[some commotion from audience]


Well, that’s the way it is going to be because I am in charge. And these fine people have other commitments in their campaign, so they have to get out too. If any of you wish to stay and answer questions individually, that’s up to you, but I want to keep this on time as much as possible. So we began at this end of the table with opening statements, so Lee, a one minute closure from you please.


Lee Richardson (Conservative):
Well, thank you again. I thank all of you for coming out today. I appreciate the opportunity to talk. I am sorry that we didn’t have a chance to get into some of these issues in greater depth. It is always difficult when you only have limited time and the panel sets you just to answer the questions. Again, I want to thank you for your interest in coming. I want you to continue with that interest and look broadly at the issues, go to our websites, look at where these parties stand on various issues. Again, thank you for coming and thank you for inviting me. [applause]
Moderator:
Thank you. Natalie?


Natalie Odd (Green):
Thank you. I have gone to your website and I find it very difficult to find anything on there. The Green party is about long-term goals. We are looking at moving to a low carbon economy. It is inevitable, we have to position ourselves, we need to be strategic and we need to pull our head out of the sand and make it happen.


We also need to look at healthcare and not just quality of healthcare that is successful, but preventative healthcare and education is really really key. We need to make it accessible to every qualified candidate. We still have 15% poverty in Canada, which has gone on for decades despite the government’s statement that they would fight that. They haven’t done anything for poverty.


And poverty means that people will live shorter lives and need to use our healthcare system a lot more. Poverty is also a determinant for crime. We have to lift people out of poverty providing them opportunities and education. We also have to have a universal quality of childcare, so our children are protected and well looked after.


Let’s have long term goals and I want to ask everyone, I think that most of you are going to vote, vote for the party that you want to win, that’s the only way it is going to happen. [applause]


Moderator:
Thank you. Tyler?


Tyler Kinch (NDP):
Thank you for your time, I really enjoyed it. Like I said at the beginning of this debate, this is your chance to elect a member of parliament that will represent your community and the issues that matter to you.


Youth get so disengaged from politics. They don’t see it relevant to them. I want to make it relevant. I will continue to speak out for students, for education affordability and on bills that are bad for them, like the copyright reform bill, bill C-61. I will oppose those bills.


I will treat this election campaign as a job interview: which candidate here will look best after your interests? The conservative candidate; whose party introduced a bill that will make almost everyone in this room a criminal. Or a New Democrat, who will ensure the rights of users are protected in the copyright act.


Who do you want elect — a conservative government whose priority is $50 billion in corporate tax cuts while we have record levels of poverty, and our public healthcare system needs a fix? Or a New Democrat government who will fight poverty, address affordable housing and ensure that every Canadian has a family doctor.


The choice is clear: it’s Lee Richardson or Tyler Kinch; Stephen Harper or Jack Layton. Vote for the candidate who will stand up for you, vote New Democrat. [applause]


Moderator:
Thank you. Heesung?


Heesung Kim (Liberal):
First of all, I’d like to thank Mount Royal College for having this forum. It is a very valuable opportunity to get all of our positions aired and so you can make an informed decision.

This election has been a lot about leadership based on the attempt of Stephen Harper to create a false sense that Stephane Dion is not a leader. Now, there is leadership and there is a one man show. Stephen Harper’s vision is its all his way. He muscles his MPs, he has no plan, he releases a platform a week before the election when nobody can actually take a look at it.

And in contrast Stephane Dion is a leader. He leads a strong team of liberals who have a very large amount of experience in steering Canada through tough economic times. So this is a very clear choice. This election is about your vision of Canada. And in a democracy people get the government that they want. I urge you to elect a liberal team for a richer, fairer, greener Canada. Thank you. [applause]


Moderator:
Thank you. Tony?


Tony Grochowski (Independent):
Thank you very much. I thank you for coming here and listening to five of us candidates. Being an Independent, probably I have the least chances of being elected. But I’m here to make a point. And my point is that the candidate who has the most chances to get elected is Mr. [inaudible]. And I would [inaudible] to serve better his country [inaudible]. And in order to serve his country better to [inaudible] he should probably think to cross the line to become Independent or to become a member of any other party of his choice, to serve us better. OK? [laughter]

And as being kind of regulatory, as not being a member of the party which is in the power right now, he is mistreated by a prime mister who is very dictatorial. And some of them MPs resign, some of the MPs decided not to run again, decided to not to run. Please run, but please keep in mind that you have to serve [inaudible] and reason to ask. [inaudible] It doesn’t matter what it takes to do so. Thank you very much.


Moderator:
Thank you.

Well candidates, we have now come to the end of 90 minutes. I just want to say, a long time ago, I ran for Alderman against some guy named [inaudible]. Who knew? So I have some idea of what you’ve been going through for the last six weeks. I know your lives have been very hectic, that you came here and spent time with us is something we value. A lot of forums are not being held in other ridings. You came here and-

[ End of MP3 audio for castingwords crowdsourced transcription. ]

Like this post? Bookmark it! These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • digg
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • del.icio.us
  • NewsVine
  • YahooMyWeb