Did the Independent and minor political party candidates win Thursday night's final Toronto-Danforth by-election debate? Although they most likely won't win the by-election, the Independents brought forth applause and innovative ideas.
The Toronto-Danforth candidates made their final case before residents cast their votes Monday for the federal by-election. The two-hour debate featured the Independent and minor political party candidates providing different insights into the political sphere as opposed to the four major political candidates.
Nine of the 11 candidates answered questions about the economy, the environment, what the role of government ought to be and the now infamous Bill C-30, which has garnered a lot of negative responses from Canadians across the country.
The polls indicate that New Democratic Party candidate Craig Scott, who sported an orange tie Thursday night, will most likely win Monday’s contest. However, the raucous crowd was as much behind the Independent candidates as they were for Liberal Party candidate Grant Gordon, Green Party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu and Scott.
Prior to the debate, Quebec Liberal Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters where he said that when he has spoken to voters in the Toronto-Danforth federal riding, a lot of people said they voted for Jack Layton instead of the NDP.
“Why wouldn’t they? But now they’re looking for someone who is going to represent their riding well,” said Trudeau. “It’s been a great succession: from Bob Rae to Dennis Mills to Jack Layton. But they want someone who is going to be strongly active in the riding.”
Conservative Party candidate Andrew Keyes and United Party of Canada leader Brian Jeden did not participate in the debate, even though they were invited.
Toronto-Danforth New Democratic Party candidate Craig Scott at the final all-candidates debate.
For an in-depth look at the candidates click here.
When asked why this election matters to voters and the candidates, the overwhelming response was that they have to make Prime Minister Stephen Harper “accountable” and show Canadian voters not to be afraid to try something new – a reference to vote anything other than the three (maybe four) political parties.
“Instead of advocating for change from outside of the government, I’m ready to go inside government and fight for change and be effective. I hope after this evening, you’ll agree,” said Gordon.
Christopher Porter, leader of the Canadian Action Party (CAP), asked the crowd, “Who thinks Canada needs a better government.” With a majority of hands raised, Porter said that’s why he is running for higher office.
Toronto-Danforth Independent candidate Bahman Yazdanfar speaks at the final all-candidates debate.
“This is about democracy. You asked why it’s important to vote, it’s important to vote to participate,” said the CAP leader. “If you’re not participating you’re speculating and spectating. Unfortunately, we have too many people speculating as part of our nation.”
At one point of the debate, Gordon asked his opponents who designed their own material for their campaigns. Only the Independent and minor political party candidates raised their hands, but Mugnatto-Hamu and Scott did not. Gordon noted that he wrote his own material, brochures and website information.
Scott interrupted him and accused Gordon of not writing his own material either. “Nor did you, Grant,” said the NDP candidate.
The moderator then interjected and urged the candidates not to interrupt whoever is speaking.
Towards the end of the debate, the candidates had the opportunity to ask their rivals a question. It went from a heated exchange to a moment of singing (seriously).
Toronto-Danforth Libertarian candidate John Recker.
John Turmell, a veteran Independent candidate who has run several times and has promoted the “Argentine Solution” on many occasions, was quite enthusiastic, which is a characteristic trait he exhibits throughout each debate. He was able to ask the Green Party candidate about the Climategate scandal. Turmell noted that he bet $100 at the last debate.
“Guess what? Temperatures have been going down and I think these people should be charged for murder for every person found frozen to death in Bermuda shorts for global warming,” said Turmell, who received continuous applause throughout his remarks. “I asked the lady and the NDP and the Liberal, who have all propped manmade global warming: why don’t you take my $100 bet? I say it’s been getting colder and they have been lying to us.”
Mugnatto-Hamu immediately replied that she took the bet and explained her point of view as to what happened in the Climategate scandal. She explained that Turmell “was deeply mistaken” as to what “hide the decline” really meant.
Toronto-Danforth Liberal candidate Grant Gordon sings "O Canada" alongside Progressive Canadian Party candidate Dorian Baxter.
“It’s funny that people think that ‘hide the decline’ means there there was a decline in the temperature. That isn’t actually what they were referring to,” said the veteran Green candidate.
Turmell interrupted and asked, “Hide in the popularity?”
Following her response, he called for a debate after the election to talk about climate change, global warming, the Climategate scandal and other environmental policies that have been pushed by all sides of the political spectrum.
When it was the Green candidate’s chance to ask a question, she asked Dorian Baxter, the poignant and eloquent PC candidate, to sing. He then proceeded to sing to the audience, who previously imitated Elvis Presley earlier in the evening when he told the crowd if he is elected, “Ottawa will be all shook up.”
The evening ended with a rendition of “O Canada.”