Voters' voices

Were St. Paul's constituents swayed by what the candidates had to say?

At our candidates debate for the St. Paul’s byelection the Town Crier asked undecided voters to tell us about their key issues and if they were swayed by what they heard.

Gordon Chamberlain – Environmental advocate

Traditionally Chamberlain has voted Liberal but says he isn’t happy with the “recent financial fumbles” of Liberal party. For him the key issues in the byelection are climate change, the HST and how we’re going to pay for education and health care.

After the debate Chamberlain said he was slightly swayed by Liberal candidate Eric Hoskins noting: “Obviously the Liberals have themselves a really good candidate.”

However, he remains undecided and said he will go home and review the notes he took and weigh the candidates’ answers.

Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler – Chair of Wychwood Open Door
a a day-time drop-in centre for the homeless and socially isolated

While Chaleff-Freudenthaler has traditionally voted one way (although he wouldn’t say which) he came to the meeting as an undecided voter. He the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, NDP and Greens specifically about homelessness and how they would to help the homeless in a way that gives them dignity.

“I heard answers that were acceptable from the NDP and the Liberals, but it’s a matter of putting it into action,” he said after the debate adding “I was totally insulted by the Conservative response.”

As he left he said that he was still undecided as to who will receive his vote in the byelection.

“I’m still considering my options.”

Dave Buchanan – St. Paul’s resident

Buchanan left the debate the same way he came, as an undecided voter but was impressed by one of the candidates.

“I think Sue-Ann Levy came out the strongest. Everybody in the room was against this HST and she’s solidly against it,” he said.

“I think the PCs are gonna win everything going for it at this point.”

He was less impressed with the Liberal candidate.

“That Hoskins guy, he’s got a lot of vocal support but I really did not like what he said, he quoted the head of the food bank, (who said) the HST is going to be good for low-income earners. That’s a lie.”

Doreen Barton – St. Paul’s resident

Barton identified herself as a past Liberal supporter but was undecided going into the meeting thanks to the eHealth scandal and the implementation of the HST. For her, the most impressive performance of the night belonged to the NDP’s Julian Heller.

“To me — and I’m not an NDPer — I thought (Julian Heller) was the most credible because he kept them all more accountable. He wasn’t pushing his own ideas, as much as he was making them accountable for what they were saying.

“I think he’d be a good representative. (It’s) between him and Sue-Ann Levy. I’ve discounted the Liberals for the first time in my life, I just can’t vote for anybody that represents the McGuinty platform.”

In spite of her admiration of the job Heller did on stage she still doesn’t know how she’ll vote.

“I’m undecided because I don’t like to vote NDP but I’ve never missed a vote so I may very well just spoil my ballot. But I haven’t decided.”

Other voices after the debate:

“I’m very concerned about the HST. You can’t convince me that it was a good thing.” – Marilyn Cabell who moved to St. Paul’s from London, Ont. a year ago. She says she’ll likely vote Progressive Conservative.

“I think for me, both the NDP and the Liberal candidates did stand out, they seemed to have the polished answers and they seemed the most ready with answers.

“I wouldn’t have minded hearing more about educational issues. I did want to hear about the tax but I thought the discussion was really monopolized by that issue. It became a one-issue debate.”

Victoria Foote, 14-year St. Paul’s resident who attended the debate with her husband and two sons. She left undecided.

About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala and Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Sep 11 2009 12:51 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto