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Candidates address issues affecting Guelph in 1460 CJOY debate

Three candidates from Guelph met Thursday morning at the University of Guelph‘s War Memorial Hall for a debate hosted by 1460 CJOY.

The debate, one of the last before the election, was moderated by CJOY news director Darren Baxter and featured Liberal Sly Castaldi, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner and New Democrat Aggie Mlynarz.

READ MORE: PC Leader Doug Ford claims he isn’t breaking promise to release fully costed platform

Progressive Conservative candidate Ray Ferraro was invited but backed out at the last minute because of a personal matter, according to a member of his team.

One of the hot topics candidates have talked about in other debates has focused on protecting Guelph’s water supply from private interests.

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Castaldi was forced to defend what her party has already done, such as placing a two-year moratorium on new and expanding water bottle operations, tightening up the rules on permits and increasing the fee for taking water.

“Two years ago, the government stepped in to ensure municipalities and communities have the right to water first and protect Ontario’s groundwater resources,” she said.

BELOW: Three candidates in Guelph discuss issues impacting the Royal City and Ontario in a debate on 1460 CJOY.

While Mlynarz and Schreiner acknowledge the work the Liberals have already done, both agreed it was not enough.

Schreiner argued quarry operations are prioritized over any other development in the province.

“We have a long way to go to protect our water,” he said. “That is why we support blue belt expansion to the entire watershed area proposed by scientists.”

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Mlynarz called for the Environmental Bill of Rights to be updated.

“We need more transparency in regards to environmental rights in allowing third-party citizens to participate in those conversations, and individuals and communities as well,” she said.

READ MORE: Guelph offers more choices than the main parties for the Ontario election

The candidates were also asked what they will do to ensure Guelph’s needs are looked after if they are elected and the broad question provoked some interesting answers.

Castaldi said she will create advisory groups with different sectors in the community.

“Consultation creates really good public policy and I think that we need to hear from the folks in Guelph.”

“To bring the sectors together to really prioritize their needs is how I would like to move forward on that,” she added.

Schreiner said he will champion Guelph’s clean economy to the world.

“If you want to invest in the clean economy and create good jobs and create prosperity, Guelph is the place to do it,” he said. “Then with that prosperity, I want to invest it in our community.

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Mlynarz said the NDP’s platform puts the community first and plans on creating partnership with local organizations.

“We want to partner with our local community health centres in delivering the services that we have suggested, such as dental care and pharmacare for all,” she said while adding those partnerships would extend to municipalities to build public infrastructure.

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The one thing the candidates all agreed on was to urge voters to read the platform from each party before voting.

“One thing that really concerns me is that the [Progressive] Conservative Party, from my last count, is talking about somewhere above $20 billion in tax cuts, plus they have promised an additional $6 billion in spending,” Schreiner said. “There is such a fiscal hole there that makes any of the deficits these three parties are proposing look like miniature deficits.”

“I would ask the voters in Guelph to look at our platforms and make an informed decision about which platform reflects your values,” he added.

Castaldi and Mlynarz both used their rebuttals to agree with Schreiner.

It was one of the last debates before the June 7 vote and it can be watched in its entirety here.

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