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Elgin-Middlesex-London candidates square off in 980 CFPL election debate

From left to right: Karen Vecchio (Conservative), Pam Armstrong (Liberal), Donald Helkaa (PPC).
From left to right: Karen Vecchio (Conservative), Pam Armstrong (Liberal), Donald Helkaa (PPC). Andrew Graham/980 CFPL

With election day just days away, 980 CFPL held its fourth and final federal debate with local candidates.

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Thursday morning saw three candidates vying for Elgin-Middlesex-London at the 980 CFPL studios: Conservative incumbent Karen Vecchio, PPC candidate Donald Helkaa, and the Liberal’s Pam Armstrong.

The riding’s Green Party and NDP candidates declined our invitations.

The Liberals were a frequent target during the debate, with Armstrong made to play defence over the carbon tax.

“The federal carbon tax pollution pricing system now applies in Ontario. Ontario farmers are eligible to receive an exemption for the charge of fuels. This is quoted from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture,” she said.

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Vecchio responded, “you go and tell my farmers — who, this year, have already paid $4 million in carbon tax. We can say that they can get rebates but that is not true.”

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People’s Party candidate Helkaa also warned against “climate alarmism.”

“Plastic from Canada does not really make it into the ocean. There are two main places where plastic comes from and that would be Malaysia and I forget the name of the African country,” he said.

Armstrong quickly responded.

“I live down in Port Bruce, people drop their water bottles, it goes out to the lakes, it does make its way out to the ocean,” she argued.

On the issue of affordability, Armstrong cited the Liberal’s first-time home buyers incentive as a step in the right direction, but Vecchio disagreed.

“Go down to Port Stanley, Ont., that’s a big part of our community where we’re seeing homes sell for $800,000,” Vecchio argued, adding that homes in the Lambeth area are selling for $500,000.

“These programs do not work.”

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Canadians head to the polls on Monday, Oct. 21.