Step 1 for candidates: show up

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Kingston’s local federal candidates seem to have come down with a bad case of stage fright, which is unbecoming of a future MP.

A debate centered on the issue of poverty and the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) was cancelled after the Conservative and Liberal candidates said they’d no longer attend.

According to Liberal candidate Mark Gerretson, the fault is all Andy Brooke’s, his Conservative opponent.

Brooke had seemed committed after meeting with debate organizers, but he decided to withdraw later, stating that his campaign manager felt the organizing of the debate had been handed over to the special interest group, the BIG group.

Gerretson’s decision to pull out is based on his stated policy that no debate is worth his attendance if the other candidates aren’t also there.

So far, this is the second debate that has been cancelled as a result of the Liberal and Conservative candidates not showing up.

Conservative candidates across the country have mostly stuck to door-to-door canvasing as opposed to live debates.

With the 2015 campaign the longest yet, local candidates need to be selective in the events they attend to avoid spreading themselves to thin.

But debates form an important part of a public’s opinion of a politician. It allows voters to see their candidates confronted with difficult issues and judge how they respond in a public setting.

When we unexpectedly encounter a politician on our front step, we aren’t as ready to challenge their policies as a cue-card wielding, suited up opponent. When we look for transparency and integrity in our leaders, ducking unwanted duties and maneuvering political ploys doesn’t cast them in a favourable light.

— Journal Editorial Board

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