MANITOULIN — The All-Manitoulin Island Candidates’ Night and Debate for the upcoming Federal General Election is scheduled for next Thursday, October 1. The event starts at 7 pm and will be held at Manitoulin Secondary School.
There is a change in format this year: following the candidates’ presentations of their parties positions, the next part of the event be a debate between New Democratic Party incumbent candidate Carol Hughes and Liberal Party candidate Heather Wilson. (This debate format replaces the “rebuttal” by candidates of the positions their colleagues had just previously stated.)
What will they debate? Well, “Debate topics sought… give it some thought!”
The Manitoulin Expositor, the organizer of the candidates’ night event, is asking you, the public and the voters, to suggest topics that the moderator can ask Ms. Hughes and Ms. Wilson to debate. He will choose four topics from your suggestions.
Please think about the issues relevant to Manitoulin Island and email them to email@example.com. You can also bring them to the Expositor Office in Little Current or to the Recorder in Gore Bay or fax your suggestions for a debatable topic to (705)368-3822.
Please include your name and home community with your suggestion. The deadline for submission is next Wednesday, September 30 at 4 pm.
No candidates’ night event on Manitoulin Island would be complete without “questions from the floor” and that will be the event’s final formal part.
Coffee and doughnuts, another tradition, will again be provided by The Expositor Office and voters will have an opportunity to talk informally with the candidates at this time.
There has been no mention of the Conservative Party candidate, André Robichaud, and that is because Mr. Robichaud has declined to attend the Manitoulin Island event, saying instead that he plans on focussing on a door-to-door canvas in this part of the riding.
The Expositor also offered Mr. Robichaud and his campaign team the option of participating via Skype for the candidate’s convenience but his organizers also declined this suggestion last week. (There will be a chair set for him in case he decides at the last minute to surprise Manitoulin Island with an appearance).
Expositor publisher Rick McCutcheon, who has helped facilitate these events during federal and provincial elections for nearly 40 years, noted that this it the first time a candidate has declined to attend.
“It is surprising, but we have told his team the door remains open,” Mr. McCutcheon noted.
He also observed that Mr. Robichaud is participating in similar events in both Hearst and Kapaskasng in the north end of the riding and this week, in both Blind River and nearby Elliot Lake.
“Apparently he had originally committed to Blind River’s event but declined Elliott Lake’s invitation,” Mr. McCutcheon said, “and then last week changed his mind about Elliot Lake so perhaps he’ll also surprise us with a special appearance next Thursday,” Mr. McCutcheon observed.