Meadow Lake Progress, Sunday, September 28, 2008
The candidates face the crowd
By Jennifer Blake, Progress Staff
It was a much talked about debate for the candidates
of the Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River federal
riding, as they faced their constituents in person on
Thursday night. About 70 people attended the forum, held
at the Carpenter High School theatre. Four of the five
candidates showed up for the debate - incumbent MP
Conservative candidate Rob Clarke was the only no-show.
The people in attendance had a lot of questions for
their candidates, everything from agriculture and
healthcare to the economy and aboriginal issues. Many
questions had much broader answers than the one-minute
time limit allowed.
First People National Party of Canada candidate Rob
Ballantyne opened the evening saying that he appreciated
the opportunity to attend the debate.
"I'm very thankful for being invited here today," he
"This is the first run that the First Peoples
National Party has run in this riding and I took the
initiative to be in the party. One of the reasons why I
decided to run in the election is the moral of our
aboriginal people is too low."
NDP candidate Brian Morin said he was passionate
about working for the people of northern Saskatchewan.
"I know there's a lot of issues - that's why I'm
running," he said.
"None of our issues have been heard. I want to
represent you people, not me, you people out there in
Ottawa so that your voice will be heard."
Green Party candidate George Morin said the issues of
the riding are important to everyone who lives here.
"As this election proceeds the economy seems to be
the upper issue," he said.
"I'm concerned about the economy, especially what's
happening in the United States and we're not immune to
it. The Green Party is a new party, we have new ideas."
When asked the question about his party's platform,
Liberal candidate David Orchard told the crowd that he
is focused on many issues in his campaign.
"One of my priorities is the war," he said.
"Agriculture is a big issue for me. First Nations,
Métis issues, there is a whole array of things. The lack
of economic development, the exclusion of decision
making. The health issues in the north."
Each candidate took the time to answer every question
posed by the people. Even at the end of the evening,
when one man asked what many have been asking since the
debate was announced, "can someone here tell me why Mr.
Clarke did not attend tonight?"
Orchard was the first to respond, saying that he
thought Clarke should have been there.
"I think it's not right when an elected
representative as Mr. Clarke was, and then refuses to
stand in front of the people who pay his salary and
defend his ideas," he said.
"I think Mr. Clarke is doing a disservice to the
people of Meadow Lake and this riding by failing to show
Following applause from the crowd, George Morin chose
to speak to the question as well. He said he agreed with
"The man that is supposed to be here I think is a
little bit off base in terms of being a true
representative of this constituency," he said.
The debate will be televised on CPAC later this week.