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ELECTION 2015: Kamloops candidates spar in last debate before election

Candidates (left to right)Matt Greenwood, Bill Sundhu, Cathy McLeod and Steve Powrie, speak with Jim Harrison of Radio NL (foreground).
October 15, 2015 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - The candidates met in a more intimate setting and focused on more local issues during a morning debate over coffee and tea today.

All four federal candidates in the Kamloops Thompson Cariboo riding were in attendance this morning, Oct. 15, for the event, hosted by Radio NL.

The candidates, Liberal Steve Powrie, Conservative Cathy McLeod, New Democrat Bill Sundhu and Green Matt Greenwood, first butted heads over local and provincial projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Ajax Mine project.

While Greenwood said his party was outright not for a pipeline, Sundhu said his party would rather wait to see how the process unfolds. McLeod found Sundhu's response incredulous. How could he claim this, when NDP protestors were currently in Burnaby gathered against the pipeline, she asked.

“We’re a democratic party, unlike Stephen Harper’s conservatives,” Sundhu replied.

When both the NDP and the Liberal candidates agreed the Ajax Mine deserves a higher level of review, a federal panel review, McLeod was once again bewildered by their responses.

“You can’t have it both ways,” she said, asking how in one project a federal review was 'the gold standard' and in another project it wasn’t.

Moderator Jim Harrison asked candidates about the temporary foreign workers program. He referenced hotels in Sun Peaks and hospitality in the region having difficulties finding seasonal staff.

Powrie said it was an 'over reaction' to shut the program down, which was echoed by Sundhu, who said the program needs to be revised.

"We need to make sure that Canadians have the first opportunities,” McLeod said, to which Greenwood agreed.

McLeod audibly gulped, laughing this was likely the first time her and the Green Party candidate had agreed on anything.

In the second hour of the debate the candidates were allowed to question each other.

“Pick a target,” Harrison said to the candidates in allowing the proverbial gloves to come off.

Greenwood began asking if current member of Parliament McLeod actually reads the bills she votes on. Sundhu took the opportunity to take her to task and quizzed McLeod on bill C-51. Sundhu and Greenwood both accused her of only voting on party lines to which she responded 'that’s absolutely inaccurate.'

While, McLeod might have received the majority of the questions, attention quickly switched to the heated exchanges between Sundhu and Powrie. The Liberal and the New Democrat sparred over healthcare and argued who was currently winning in the polls.

“The Liberal platform is full of platitudes, but no details,” Sundhu said, to which Powrie responded that the NDP believe every trade deal is 'evil.'

The federal election takes place Monday, Oct. 19.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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