TRURO - Good questions and good answers.
© Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
Karen Casey, the Liberal candidate for Colchester North, speaks during an election debate on Tuesday at Truro fire hall. Casey was joined by Jim Wyatt (NDP), left, and John K. MacDonald (PC) for the hour-long debate.
That was the response of some of the participants following Tuesday night's debate among the three Colchester North candidates.
The debate, which was held at the Truro fire hall saw about 150 people turn out to hear the positions of incumbent Liberal candidate Karen Casey and first-time candidates John K. MacDonald for the Progressive Conservatives and Jim Wyatt, representing the NDP.
"I thought there were good candidates with good comments and good questions," said Winnie Forbes of Tatamagouche, who said she was reserving her choice of candidate until election day.
"There was a great deal of interest placed in the different policies of the different parties," she said. "It was interesting to hear the comments with balanced budgets."
The debate was organized by the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce, which solicited emailed questions from constituents in advance of the event.
The chamber received a total of 117 questions, which were pared down to 15 for the debate - ranging from three defined pension benefits for civil servants through to tax cuts, education and health-care issues, flood remediation funding, fracking and getting young voters out to the polls.
Casey led off the session by stating that the candidates should concentrate on "working together and not about a lot of a rhetoric and not a lot about idle promises but about doable solutions to some of the challenges that are facing us in Colchester North."
And Casey said her experience of being an MLA since 2006 and ministerial experience in the previous Conservative government would assist in her ability to work with other levels of governments for the good of the constituency.
MacDonald, meanwhile, stated during his introductory session that that provincial election should be "about integrity and character" of those involved.
"I am not going to bore you with a million promises but I can say this - I am the candidate who will truly put the people of Colchester North first and work hard to make Colchester North a better place to live."
He said a government led by party leader Jamie Ballie would put more money in constituent's pockets by reducing the HST, freezing electricity rates and reducing the gasoline tax.
Wyatt introduced himself as "a strong supporter" of the current government, which he credited with
being prudent by presenting a balanced budget after coming into government facing a $1.4 billion deficit.
"We've gone from there to being one of the four provinces that were able to table a balanced budget in the spring," he said. "And once you have a balanced budget you can move forward and do the things the NDP wants to do," he said.
Although Casey's political experience undoubtedly provided her the opportunity to offer a somewhat more polished presentation, if there was a hands-down winner in the debate, it was not obvious to Truro resident Ross Doyle, who described the event as "very well organized."
"I think the three of them all did well," he said. "They are all well spoken people. I'm not going to stand out for anybody. I thought the three of them were very equal."