On Sept. 30, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and CKUT hosted a debate between six candidates running to be members of parliament in the upcoming federal election. Rachel Bendayan represented the Liberal Party of Canada from the Outremont riding, Daniel Green the Green Party from the Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs riding, Rodolphe Husny the Conservatives from the Outremont riding and Simon Marchand the Bloc Quebecois from the Hochelaga riding. Also present were William Sloan of the Communist Party, and Allison Turner of the New Democratic Party (NDP) who are running in the Ville-Marie riding. The debate focused on three main topics: Education, environment, and economy.
During the education portion of the debate, Turner was quick to inform the listeners about her party’s views on student employment.
“A large number of students end up graduating with a huge debt,” Turner said. “What the NDP wants to do in order to alleviate the plight of that debt is not to have students walk into a society where there are […] few paying jobs […] but to invest in creating 40,000 jobs for students in the coming years.”
Following Turner, Bendayan presented her party’s policy on the same issue.
“The Liberal Party of Canada is going to invest $1.3 billion over three years […] in order to create jobs for young Canadians,” Bendayan said. “I think that’s important because you should stay in Montreal if you want to stay in Montreal; you should stay in Canada if you want to stay in Canada, and there should be good paying jobs for you.”
The debate moved on to environmental issues, which Green spoke about at length.
“One thing that the Green Party really stands for is to reinvest in science,” Green said. “The Harper government has disinvested in science, specifically in environmental sciences. We need more money to be invested in research to really understand what climate change and environmental upheaval will do to Canada.”
Sloan added to the discussion on the environment, showcasing his party’s stance.
“We have to go away from the oil and the gas and the coal,” said Sloan. “We have to go to renewable energies [….] Capitalism will never be able to solve the problems that we have with the environment, so we have to make a radical change.”
The final topic of the debates was the economy, a topic which Husny was vocal on.
“When you’re going to get out of [McGill], you’re either going to start your own company, work for a small-medium size enterprise [SME] or a large corporation if you don’t choose the public sector,” Husny said. “We’re lowering taxes for SMEs, cutting red tape, because SMEs need to grow. We are not going to raise taxes on big corporations, because big corporations are going to affect our capacity to actually attract investment in Canada.”
Marchand expressed disspaointment at the government’s continued emphasis on military spending.
“I’m just sad that nobody here committed to stop investing in the military […] and I think it’s very disappointing to see that,” said Marchand. “We could make a difference that could be positive in our society by not paying billions and billions of dollars for boats or for planes when this money could be invested in our education system.”