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Central election candidates spar in Gander

The four candidates running in the 2019 Federal Election in the riding of Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame squared off in a live debate at the Gander Arts and Culture Centre on Oct. 8.
The four candidates running in the 2019 Federal Election in the riding of Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame squared off in a live debate at the Gander Arts and Culture Centre on Oct. 8. - Nicholas Mercer

If people came out to the Gander Arts and Culture Centre on Tuesday to see federal election candidates take swipes at each other, they were surely disappointed at the conclusion of a televised debate. 

Each of the four candidates running in the riding of Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame made sure to spend more time selling themselves to 75 to 100 people in the auditorium. 

The format was rather simple. Each candidate made an opening statement, followed by a series of questions asked by a trio of panelists. 

At the conclusion of those questions, half a dozen audience members were given the opportunity to ask a question before the panelists asked one final question and closing statements were heard.

Conservative Party candidate Alex Bracci started and was followed by the NDPs Noel Joe, incumbent Liberal Scott Simms and the Green Party’s Byron White. Absent was Rhinoceros Party candidate Donovan Snow who decided to drop out of the election earlier this month. 

Candidates were tasked with providing answers for questions about industry, out migration, climate change, immigration, seniors issues, rate mitigation and the treatment of wastewater, among others. 

Simms and White were the two more successful candidates as they rarely hesitated with their answers. There were times when the two acknowledged the work of the other, as well as times when they took some time to downplay the words of their opponent. 

At times, their supporters let themselves be heard with applause after the answers. 

Joe and Bracci appeared nervous as they struggled with some questions. Bracci declined to answer a question on Bill C-27, which deals with the administration and supervision of target benefit plans. 

The bill is currently in its second reading in the House of Commons. 

If candidates felt they lost some ground as a result of their performances, there is still time to get people on their side. 

Voters are scheduled to go to the polls on Oct. 21. 

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