Ontario Conservative candidates in Thunder Bay area ridings face off
Progressive Conservative candidates in the two ridings in the Thunder Bay area did not show up at organized campaign sessions in Ontario.
Kevin Holland (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) and Peng You (Thunder Bay-Upper North) were both absent for an all-candidates forum co-hosted by the local chamber of commerce earlier this week. Additionally, none of the candidates participated in the debates presented by the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group last week.
In Thunder Bay-Superior North, Shelby Ch’ng of the Liberals, Lise Vaugeois of the NDP, Tracey MacKinnon of the Green Party and Kathy Suutari of the New Blue Party were all present for Wednesday’s forum. The Thunder Bay-Atikokan forum on the same day featured NDP Judith Monteith-Farrell and Liberal challenger Rob Barrett, with virtual attendance from Green Party Eric Arner from Atikokan.
“I just think it’s so disrespectful of the Progressive Conservatives not to send their candidates out to speak and be accountable, not just for the past four years, but for the next four years ahead,” Barrett said. .
“I just don’t understand it.”
PC candidates not participating in other constituencies
Elsewhere in northern Ontario, PC candidates skipped events in the ridings of Mushkegowuk-James Bay, Nickel Belt, Sudbury, Timiskaming-Cochrane and Nipissing.
The party had candidates at events in the ridings of Algoma-Manitoulin, Timmins and Parry Sound-Muskoka.
“Our candidates are campaigning hard in their ridings to build voters’ confidence in our plan to get there,” a spokesperson for the Ontario PC campaign said in a written statement. “Some candidates chose to participate in all-candidate forums and others chose to spend their time delivering their message directly to voters at the door.”
CPs also failed to make their candidates in the four Northwestern Ontario ridings available to CBC Thunder Bay for profile interviews.
So far in the campaign, PC Leader Doug Ford was the first and only party leader to stop in northwestern Ontario, when he came to Thunder Bay on May 7. The two Thunder Bay area seats had been held by the Liberals and NDP in the previous term.
Speaking to local reporters during the visit, Ford said he “can’t even tell you who [the Thunder Bay-area] MPPs are,” and suggested constituencies should elect a PC candidate to have a voice at Queen’s Park.
Monteith-Farrell, the incumbent NDP in Thunder Bay-Atikokan, said it’s a tactic Ford has used elsewhere in places where there are no elected PC MPs.
She wondered if a candidate who does not participate in the debates during the electoral campaign can be an effective elected representative.
“It’s very telling that if someone is not willing to talk to voters, and be in an open forum and answer questions now, what are they going to do when and if elected. ”