The Sarnia-Lambton NDP candidate says the race in this riding is going down to the wire and it’s a two party race.
Jason McMichael made the pronouncement Thursday during the last of 11 Candidates Debates in the riding. The NDP candidate was joined on the stage by Peter Smith of the Green Party and Dave McPhail – the Liberal’s candidate in the riding.
Conservative Marilyn Gladu sat out the last three debates of the campaign after having minor surgery in late September. She suspended her campaign events, but has since been out meeting people at the Brigden Fair.
At Thursday’s debate hosted by the Huron Shores Optimist, McMichael told the crowd of about 100 people that local polls show this is a two-way race.
“A lot of parties talk about polls and the polls have gone up and down,” he said in his closing remarks “but the local polls consistently show a two way race between the Conservatives and the NDP.
“The Liberals are 20 points behind locally,” says McMichael as McPhail smiled and shook his head.
While McMichael wouldn’t give specifics about the polls, he says the local parties are able to see the results of independent polling which show the race is very close in this riding. McMichael wouldn’t elaborate on how close the latest polls are saying the private companies only allow the parties to view the information and must pay “significant dollars” if they wish to release the information.
While McPhail disagreed with McMichael’s assessment, both he and Smith agree this election is significant. “This is the most important election we’ve seen in decades,” says Smith asking the residents to think about the “kind of Canada you want” and “which party will get us to where you want to be in the future.” Smith says the Green Party is the only party offering a different perspective.
McPhail pointed to the current national polls which show a Liberal upswing saying it is “the only party to offer real change now” to a Conservative government.
He also pointed to the party’s infrastructure program which will “create tens of thousands of jobs” and see “billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure. “It’s an investment in Canada.”
The candidates also answered questions from the people in the room, voicing their opinions on a number of topics, including:
Income Splitting for Seniors: McMichael says the NDP would end income splitting for higher income families but would still allow the practice for seniors. Smith says the Greens will increase corporate taxes by four per cent and introduce a guaranteed income for all Canadians. McPhail says a Liberal government would also allow seniors to continue the practice of income splitting to pay less taxes.
On changing our current electoral system where the first party “past the post” wins the seat and the party with the most seat forms government: McPhail says the Liberals will set up a committee to study proportional representation and ranked ballots. Smith says the Green Party, which has only two seats in the House of Commons but regularly pulls in about four per cent of the vote across the country, has always pushed for proportional representation. McMichael added something must be done in the House of Commons where the debate “has dissolved into something that is unacceptable.”
On whether Canada should accept refugees considering its economic condition: “We can’t turn our face away from those people,” says Smith. “We can’t deal with them all but we can provide homes for some.” He added refugees “don’t take jobs from Canadians” they create jobs for Canadians. McPhail agreed the country should help out the refugees currently flooding into Europe from Syria and Iraq. The Liberals have committed to allowing 25,000 into Canada but McPhail says that will be done with “proper screening…we have to make sure we don’t get people we don’t want. We don’t want people to come and do…something dastardly.” McMichael says an NDP would also take in more refugees than the Conservatives are currently and he says they would provide the federal civil service the resources to properly screen people who are coming in. McMichael, who represents Immigration and Customs workers at the Bluewater Bridge, says cuts by the Conservatives in the past have hampered them and has “compromised the security of the country.”
Canadians go to the polls Monday.