Candidates square off as election heads into home stretch

From the Woolwich Observer

With pollsters continuing to predict another Tory minority, it was business as usual at the Kitchener-Conestoga all candidates debate held at the Woolwich Memorial Centre Apr. 18.

Jets, jails, early elections and coalitions seemed to be the topics of the evening, and with each new question asked, both the Conservative and Liberal candidates managed a dig at the other to resounding audience applause. After an audience question regarding the Conservative ownership of Liberal candidate Dr. Bob Rosehart’s domain name, debate moderator Joe Pavia had to cut off comments, telling candidates if they wished to discuss the topic further they would have to “take it outside.”

“I think this is classic case of what is wrong with Canadian politics. Most people turn off their television when these attack ads (come on),” said Rosehart. “Politics is a contact sport.”

Although constituents may be familiar with the faces of Rosehart, Conservative candidate Harold Albrecht and NDP representative Lorne Bruce, the debate was the first public forum for newly-appointed Green Party candidate Albert Ashley. He was convinced to be a candidate after calling the national Green party to volunteer as a canvasser for local candidates.

With just two weeks left in the campaign, the political science department at Wilfrid Laurier University maintains their prediction of a Conservative win in Kitchener-Conestoga, but none of the other parties have ruled out a win and each said they were prepared to serve in the house.

“When I win, this riding will be known as the first Green riding in Canada and that will attract businesses associated with conservation and solar panels and high speed rail to this area just because they know the constituents are green,” said Ashley.

Candidates cited various frustrations with the campaign process far, such as lack of funding or poor weather conditions as they trooped door-to-door and put up signs these past few weeks, but all agreed the best part about the campaign was meeting the riding’s residents.

“I have found a very warm reception and there’s been a real increase in supporters,” said Albrecht. “It’s humbling to get that kind of response from the community.”

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