Concerns of government corruption raised during Toronto Centre byelection debate

TC candidates

Toronto Centre byelection candidates John Deverell (Green), Chrystia Freeland (Liberal), Linda McQuaig (NDP) and Geoff Pollock (Conservative) during a televised debate Wednesday evening. Nov. 13. (Michael Duncan/Ryersonian Staff).

The same issue dominating newsstands for the last few weeks – corruption in the senate and Toronto city hall – carried over into the first all-candidates debate for the Toronto Centre byelection Wednesday evening.

Candidates for the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and even the Green party, which was previously barred from national debates, took part in the televised debate hosted by Rogers Television.

The candidates took questions from callers and Twitter, which included multiple references to corruption.

“I think it’s really important to understand the senate issue as an issue that starts with the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s office and it starts with the deception which we have seen there,” said Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland on the question of cleaning up the senate.

Freeland and NDP candidate Linda McQuaig sparred part-way through the debate over each others published books, which each take different approaches to income inequality in Canada.

The debate featured little discussion about student issues except from Green candidate John Deverell  at the very beginning.

“The basic problem that people have over many fronts, whether it’s students, whether it’s low-income workers, is that they don’t have enough money,” said Deverell. “So put some money in their pockets and make them supporters of the climate change struggle.”

The next debate is at University of Toronto on Nov. 16 and will feature questions from students.

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