Candidates discuss numerous topics including climate, Indigenous issues
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The last debate in the NDP leadership race happened at the York Theatre in Vancouver on September 10. Other Press correspondent Jerrison Oracion attended the debate.
The theatre was so full that some people had to go to another building nearby to watch the debate. Before the debate began, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron, and Jagmeet Singh went to the lineup in front of the theater to see all of their supporters. Niki Ashton also participated in the debate but she appeared by video link from Ottawa
The debate began with the candidates making opening statements that outlined what they would do if they were the leader of the NDP.
The candidates answered questions on a variety of topics including climate change, NAFTA negotiations and pay equality.
When the candidates were asked if Canada should use Ecuador’s model of decriminalizing drugs, all of them praised that system. But, Angus said he thinks that there should also be support programs to help people stop using drugs and Singh questioned him on that idea. Singh then restated that he thinks all drugs should be decriminalized.
Singh challenged Angus again and when Angus said there should be no means test for old age security.
Ashton noted that Singh has registered a large number of NDP members but she suggested that those registrations came from only a handful of ridings. She asked whether Singh had plans to grow the party nationally. Angus also questioned Singh him on the topic of registrations later in the debate.
The candidates discussed decolonization and Indigenous rights. They talked about Justin Trudeau splitting the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs into two different departments and they all agreed that it is not a great idea.
Caron asked Angus two questions about the party’s potential success in Quebec in the 2019 federal election in and Angus answered them in French although he could have answered them in English.
The other candidates also talked about the party’s chances in 2019 and during this section, they mentioned Jack Layton several times.
Before and after the debate, I talked to all of the candidates except Ashton and they all told me that they think that they will be the next leader of the NDP. I asked Singh if he thinks that he is the NDP’s version of Justin Trudeau. He responded, “I hope to be the NDP version of Jagmeet Singh.”