Photo: The candidates at a Q&A in Stittsville on Sunday. From left: Jean-Serge Brisson (Libertarian), Mark Dickson (independent), Goldie Ghamari (Progressive Conservative), Courtney Potter (NDP), Jay Tysick (Ontario Party) and Theresa Qadri (Liberal). Most photos by Barry Gray.
Liberal candidate for Carleton, Theresa Qadri and Tory Goldie Ghamari, took the lion’s share of questions at a recent all candidates meeting, despite there being six people at the table vying for a seat at Queen’s Park.
Residents packed the pews at the Stittsville United Church on May 20 during a question-and-answer session hosted by the Stittsville Village Community Association. Questions were raised about the standard topics, healthcare, education, but there were also some pointed questions about the Progressive Conservative leader’s history and the Liberal record.
“Rob Ford made Toronto a laughing stock,” said one speaker named Adrienne Charlton, who’s affiliated with Qadri’s campaign, adding the PC leader Ford is a “known drug dealer” and asked Ghamari how she thought he’d be able lead Ontario.
Ghamari said one of the most important tenets of the legal system in this country is innocent until proven guilty. She blamed the Liberals for the “unsubstantiated claims.”
“It’s all they have because they can’t stand on their record and they’re afraid of the blue wave that’s coming,” she said.
Qadri, a real estate agent and Food Bank volunteer who happens to be married to Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri, took aim at the PCs in turn.
“At least we’re not selling off the Greenbelt or cutting down trees,” she said.
The panel of candidates included: Jean-Serge Brisson, representing the Libertarians, Jay Tysick, leader of the newly-formed Ontario Party, Mark Dickson, who is running independently, and Courtney Potter for the New Democrats – along with Qadri and Ghamari.
The riding of Carleton is new for the 2018 election and was changed to realign with the federal ridings that were altered in 2015. It includes parts of Nepean-Carleton, Carleton-Mississippi Mills and parts of Ottawa South.
For the Conservatives, the race in Carleton has been marred with some controversy, since many party insiders took issue with the nomination of Ghamari.
Tysick formed the Ontario Alliance after being ousted from the nomination process in Carleton in November 2017. It was something he said happened to far too many candidates.
Tysick spent some time working in China and he’s seen first hand what a obtrusive government can do.
“Are we more afraid of change? Or what’s coming if we don’t do something,” he said.
Dickson said even though he’s a card carrying Conservative, he hoped to split that vote. Dickson is from the area but also didn’t get the Conservative nomination. He said running as an independent, he’d be better able to represent his constituents since he didn’t have to tow a party line.
Dickson also pledged to give 25 per cent of his salary as an MPP back to his riding in the form of a blind trust, which residents could decide how to spend.
The base salary of an MPP is more than $160,000 annually.
A few residents posed questions about plan for long-term care in the province.
Potter said her party is committed to the standard of four hours of care per resident – something frontline health care workers have been calling for. Their platform also calls for a bill that would prevent spouses from being separated.
Ghamari said it’s not that health care is being underfunded, it’s just that the dollars aren’t going to the right places.
The PCs have pledged to build more long-term care homes.
The Liberals have pledged 5,000 new long-term care beds would be created by 2022 and over 30,000 over the next decade.
“When you invest in others and give them the help they need everyone benefits,” Qadri said.
Correction: The Libertarian candidate’s name is Jean-Serge Brisson, not Jean Serge-Brisson.