Brantford-Brant candidates fight for the student vote

Brantford federal candidate’s debate revolves around student based issues.

Yesterday at 4 p.m. in Laurier Brantford’s S.C Johnson building, four of the Brantford-Brant federal candidates running in the upcoming election sat together to answer questions surrounding the theme of post-secondary students and education.

Kevin Brandt (Green Party), Danielle Takacs (Liberal Party), Marc Laferriere (New Democratic Party) and Phil McColeman (Conservative Party) were all present.

The debate began with an opening statement from each candidate.

Brandt stated that the other three parties have not been doing a good enough job and believes The Green Party represents a more positive future for Canada.

“Greens will strive to support society where the pressure to make a living does not crowd out having a life; where having more does not supplant to being more,” said Brandt.

Brandt wants a, “higher quality of life” in terms of wellness, education, meaningful work, prosperity and economic success.

Takacs explained that Liberals invest up to thirteen times more in youth jobs and job creation than all other parties.

“I know that you need a job now or upon graduation, which is just around the corner. You don’t deserve promises that are based on future elections,” said Takacs.

Takacs plans to fight for graduates to stay in Brantford once they complete their schooling by creating more job opportunities and lowering the cost of housing.

Laferriere expressed his concern on the issues revolving around temporary work agencies, youth unemployment and youth internships. As well, having personally experienced an unpaid internship, understands the reality of students having no other choice than to be put in similar situations.

“That’s difficult. That’s difficult for anybody, especially a young person already in debt. To be expected to work in such a way for free without a lot of protections that other workers get, that’s wrong,” said Laferriere.

McColeman believes that the integration of Laurier Brantford into the downtown is a crucial part of creating a better community for the city.

As the current MP of Brantford-Brant, elected in 2008 and again in 2011, McColeman sought support from the government and brought the story of Laurier’s innovative renewal of downtown Brantford to Ottawa, to further the development of the campus.

“We want you to be successful here because your success means success for our community,” said McColeman.

Approximately two hours were allotted to answering questions. Moderators Laura Bassett and Dillon Giancola asked a series of pre-determined questions on student debt, Aboriginal students, youth employment, and affordable housing for students.

Half way into the debate, the moderators asked questions found on Twitter and from the audience members.


This is what the candidates had to say in answer to this question:

Takacs: “The future of Brantford is linked to you [students] … you guys can definitely make a difference… its so important to have this future generation represented.”

Laferriere: “In the last election twenty five per cent of students voted, in the last same election seventy five per cent of seniors voted. Who do you think gets more policy? If you don’t vote you don’t get policy.”

McColeman: “I see voting as the most important franchise we have in a free democracy, it’s what makes out country great… it doesn’t matter if you vote for me or any of the other candidates, it is a larger picture deal. It is ensuring the future of our democracy.”

Brandt: “The student vote is important, it is important for a healthy democracy. To have such a large part of our population not vote ensures the country isn’t as great as it could possibly be.”


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