Thursday, November 25, 2010

Conservatives Don't Debate in Byelections

There was another debate in Winnipeg North tonight and all candidates showed up except Julie Javier from the Conservatives.

Kevin Lamoureux from the Liberals, Kevin Chief from the NDP and the Greens and the rest of the candidates were present but no Javier.

I can find no evidence that any debate has happened in Dauphin-Swan River and Marquette at all. It seems Conservatives candidate Robert Sopock believes he is coasting to a win and I can't find any attempt to organize anything akin to a debate.

Likewise, in Ontario's federal riding of Vaughan, the Conservative candidate Julian Fantino refuses media interviews and debates.

I can't be the only one that finds this disturbing. And yet the Tories are expected to win Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette and are considered front runner in Vaughan.

Is a Tory refusal to debate nationally the next step? Is this the new strategy? Are federal candidates being advised by head office to refuse debates?

On the local city front there is a bit of a kerfuffle about Kevin Chief and a possible endorsement from Lloyd Axworthy. Apparently, it isn't an endorsement.

At one point in his life, NDP candidate Kevin Chief donated money to Liberals in Winnipeg Center.

The NDP response has been that he was supporting his friend and colleague at the University of Winnipeg Dan Hurley in paying off his debt from the election as Liberal candidate. Since the contribution came after the election, I have no reason to doubt him at his word. Perhaps Hurley or the Liberal party can clear up as to who or what the donation was made to. At the moment, it just looks like it was out to the local Liberal association.

One thing is clear: Lloyd Axworthy has indicated as president of the university he wasn't going to endorse candidates since he is expected to work with various levels of government for the betterment of the school. He may still be a card carrying Liberal but expectations that he is going to endorse people should be dismissed immediately.

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