Q&As with the Kingston & the Islands candidates

The Journal sits down with each candidate to talk student issues

Five candidates are vying for the Kingston and the Islands MP spot ahead of the federal election.

Before the upcoming federal election, The Journal sat down with the five candidates vying for a seat in parliament representing Kingston and the Islands. Candidates were asked questions on topics including the environment, affordability, Indigenous issues and campus sexual violence. 

These interviews have been edited for clarity.

What do you believe is the number one issue facing Canadian university and college students today?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: Jobs and job security. You’re facing a changing world. We’re entering a new industrial revolution, industry 4.0. Smart cities, smart factories. The labor force is going to be changing. We don’t fear that. But we’re going to have to be nimble and flexible as we respond to that. Our party is committed to making sure that we get government out of the way to allow the economy to expand and adjust. But if necessary, for the government to regulate only when it has to safeguard rights and freedoms to make sure there’s nobody being discriminated against. There’s all sorts of reasons why government should, and properly, enter into a situation. But there’s many more reasons when we just need to step aside and let the free market act.

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: That depends if you want to think about it from an existential perspective or from a practical one. I’m going to say the climate emergency, but again, I think we can talk about that in a different context. From a practical standpoint, I think standard of living and tuition costs are the number one issue. Just looking at Kingston, our rents are as high as a lot of major cities, and so it’s certainly challenging for young people coming into Kingston maybe thinking that it’s a sleepy small town, only to discover that it can cost upwards of six, seven, eight hundred dollars just for a room.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: The increasing debts that students are taking on as a result of the increasing costs [of education]. When my parents were younger, graduating high school was considered enough to get a good, well-paying job, but things have changed now. An undergraduate degree is often regarded as the minimum standard and then postgraduate work after that. A lot of students are taking on a lot of debt as a result of this increased level of education that is being expected on young people these days.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: I think probably the number one concern that students have is the affordability of education and the rising cost of tuition, in particular and alongside that would be the cost of housing, which is something that faces a lot of Canadians as well. But I would say, it’s been a while since I was a student, but I am a professor. And I think the number one issue is probably affordability.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: Affordability. Life’s too expensive for students. Then, housing. Our Conservative Party will make sure we make life more affordable, and [we] will lower taxes. What happens to students after finishing school? First of all, you have to create high paid jobs. Some people take [out a] line of credit and they have no opportunity here. They have no choice but to move to a bigger city like Toronto or Vancouver. My goal is to create more high-paid jobs here, more opportunities.

 

In September, dozens of student unions, representing nearly a million students from universities across Canada, signed a letter addressed to the federal parties outlining their priorities. One of those priorities is the elimination of interest on federal student loans. Do you support the elimination of interest on federal student loans? Yes or no, and why?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: We don’t have a party platform on this particular question. Personally, I’m inclined to agree with that. I’d like to learn a little bit more. I’m definitely inclined to agree with that. I’m so close to saying yes on that. I just want to make sure I have a little bit more information. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Yes, we absolutely support that. In the Green platform going into this election, we have indicated that all federal portions of current debts will be forgiven. So, that could be everything from a federal tri-council grant, for example, to different funding for Indigenous youth and students with disabilities. But beyond the debt the idea is to move towards a grant system, whereby post-secondary education will no longer require tuition, that that will be funded fully by the state. We hope to get to a place where student debt, at least as it relates to tuition, will be a thing of the past.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: That is something that really needs to be studied, in my opinion, before we can come to a concrete decision about removing interest completely. One of the things that our party has committed to doing, if re-elected, is on the federal portion of loans that are taken out, we won’t require students to start paying back those loans until they make at least $35,000 a year. If their income falls below this, then the payments would be put on hold. The other thing is that we’re looking to give students a longer grace period before they have to start paying back those loans right from the beginning. So, I’m not in a position to be able to answer that because I think that to answer that question meaningfully would require really understanding it. Until somebody has done and published a study, and it’s been able to be reviewed critically, it would just be me, anecdotally, kind of off-the-cuff giving an answer, and I just don’t think that that would be the best way to do that.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Yes, that’s part of our problem. Our party policy is to make tuition more affordable. And I can say more about that later. But certainly to take care of the fact that there’s a lot of people that are profiting from student loans. So, it’s one of our policies to make it more difficult for lenders to profit from student loans.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: What I would like to propose is give a break. I believe students should have a break. I think we should introduce five years [of] no interest so students can get a job. We will focus on helping everybody. I think we have to work together to make sure we make life more affordable for every student.

 

What specific action can the federal government take to advocate for low-income students? And do you support increased funding for federal grants? Yes or no, and why?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: Education is a provincial matter and our party is very respectful of constitutional jurisdictions. One of the problems we have in the current campaign is a frenzy of spending announcements and promises. We’re refusing to do that kind of campaigning. People need to pause and realize they’re not spending their money. They’re spending your money. And as we talked about the future world that you are going to inherit from us, we’re going to leave you with that debt. We have a member of provincial parliament here. I greatly respect him. Whoever is elected in Kingston and the Islands must be able to work closely with the MPP. And I know Ian Arthur and I would be able to set aside any political differences we might have and put the best interest of Kingston first. And of course, that includes students. So where that’s his jurisdiction, maybe he has to take the lead on that. But I don’t have the baggage of the other old established parties. I’m not in any way connected to the current provincial government. So I’m in a perfect position to help Ian in any way that I can, and bring federal resources, and figure out, as I navigate being a Member of Parliament, how to find that way to bring the resources that will help him, so we work in tandem.

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Absolutely. Whether students are low-income or not, we feel that universal tuition is something that should be a human right. For one thing, it ensures that we have equity for all youth to reach their potential, whatever that might be. In the Green plan, it’s not just for universities, it’s also for colleges and trades. Actually, as it turns out, the job force that we’re going to need, in terms of things like construction refits, for example, for both homes but also apartment buildings and also institutions like Queen’s, we are going to need, apparently, somewhere in the neighbourhood of four million new jobs across the country. And for Kingston, that would translate probably to anywhere between 25,000 to 50,000 new jobs, which is substantive.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: Yes, and this government has increased that, and the Liberal Party is committed to continuing to increase grants, and in particular grants as they relate to low-income students. Some of the lowest-income students, demographically speaking, are Indigenous students. If they choose that they want to go to university, we want to make sure that we’re there as a federal government to ensure that they have those opportunities.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Yes, the federal government, our party rather, does support a federal grants program, because we believe that too much of the cost of paying for education has been downloaded on to students. So that is a part of our platform. One of the things that we can do, as I said, is to bring back the grant system. We also want to make it more difficult for lenders to profit from student loans. In the long run, what the NDP wants to do is to make the post-secondary system part of the K-through-12 system. So that’s the long-term strategy, moving towards the elimination of tuition at the post-secondary level because we’re of the belief that university degrees and undergraduate degrees become the de facto high school diploma that the demands of the job for such that if students don’t have training in a trade or a college diploma or university degree, they’re going to have a very hard time in the job market.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: Education is very expensive, the rent is very expensive. The carbon tax introduced by Mr. Trudeau does nothing to protect the environment, [it] just brings high costs [in] groceries and gas. So, the first thing is we will repeal the carbon tax. We actually will focus on [making] sure everybody gets help and be realistic. We have to be a fiscally responsible government, and I believe the Conservative government will act as a small business. Government should act like that.

 

On Sept. 27, millions of people around the world—including more than 500 Queen’s students, faculty, and staff—participated in a climate strike, protesting inaction on the climate crisis. According to recent polls, young Canadians view action on climate as one of their top priorities for the upcoming election. In that vein, we’re going to ask four climate-related questions. Do you support a continuously increasing federal carbon tax?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: No.

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Increasing? No, in the sense that I think it has to be qualified. The Greens plan on taxing the most polluters, heavily. What’s different with our plan, however, is that we plan on returning that. What we call net neutral, the dividends would go directly to Canadians through the Canada Revenue Agency, your tax returns, or as a cheque. Which is different from any of the other programs to date, including the federal one, where you have to apply for your tax rebate after the fact. In terms of pricing carbon? Absolutely. We firmly believe that by pricing carbon fairly, we can ensure that the biggest polluters turn their ways around and start investing in more, cleaner forms of not just energy use, but we also have a huge program around curbing emissions.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: I support a continually increasing price on pollution. I’m splitting hairs, but I don’t call it a tax because all of the money, the way that it’s currently set up, all of the money is being returned to people. So it’s not really a tax. It’s more of a tool to incentivize the marketplace. But to answer your question, yes, I absolutely support that.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Yes.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: It just punishes hard-working Canadian students like you and [does] nothing to protect and fight climate change globally. What I believe is to invest in green technology, not taxation, not punishing Canadians. We have to be champions on the world stage, you have to drive that to everybody. The climate change is global. It’s not a national issue, it’s a global issue. And we have to take approach as a leader to fight global climate change.

Do you support the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: The Liberals have bungled that file. I cannot possibly say I support how they did it. What I can say, is our party is committed to seeing that all Canadians thrive. Alberta is not doing well, and neither is Saskatchewan. We cannot have any province prevent or interfere with the welfare of this Confederation. We are the only party prepared to invoke Section 92(10) of the Constitution Act. [Section 92(10)] states, where you have a national infrastructure project that affects two or more provinces, we have the jurisdiction. We respect the Constitution. We step out of the way when it's not our business to be there. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Absolutely not. Actually, I was quite flabbergasted. You can’t be a ‘climate change leader’ and then talk about spending taxpayers’ dollars to by an aging pipeline that clearly a major corporation was ready to divest themselves of. Furthermore, I think it’s a lot of political hearsay whether or not there is indeed a Chinese market particularly for bitumen. The interesting thing is that the bitumen market in particular has been subsidized by both levels of government, provincially through Alberta as well as the feds. So, the Greens’ plan is to end all corporate subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which in effect will end the bitumen market because it’s not competitive and it never was competitive.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: No, and I was one of three Liberal Members of Parliament who opposed the government’s decision to do them.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: No.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: No. This just shows that we need strong leadership. It just shows you we need actually strong leaders who actually understand better what has to be done for the benefit of Canadians.

 

Do you support a national-wide ban on fracking?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: No, I can't say I support that. I was speaking to somebody in the industry a couple of months ago, and it caused me to have questions. They weren't all bad questions, there was some good questions in there. And I'd like more information on that. So at this point that would be my answer.

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Absolutely. The Greens have committed to that, Elizabeth May says we won’t waver. There is to be no fracking, and no new explorations either.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: I understand there are a lot of concerns around the practice of fracking. I don't understand it, nor have I ever had the opportunity to learn in greater detail about it. I don't think I should answer that unless I fully understand it.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Yes, I support a national ban on fracking.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: The candidate could not answer this question at the time of the interview.

 

In your view, will Canada meet its internationally agreed upon emissions reduction targets on our current trajectory?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: That's a loaded question. If you listen to the parties, especially the Green, they’re saying we won't and [the Green Party] will do 60 per cent, I believe, is their figure they're going to achieve by 2030. The Greens will spend ourselves and our children, my children, who are entering university, some have already left university, they'll spend us into oblivion. I detail-studied the Green Party platform the other day, where they claim to have a balanced budget in the fifth year. But the one notable emission was the single largest line item in their budget was not costed, and it's what they call the GLI, the Guaranteed Living Income. If you add that to their budget, even if you use the most conservative figure of $76 billion by the Parliamentary Budget Office, they will blow their budget and their claims to smithereens. I'm not picking on the Greens. The others are equally guilty for not leveling with the voter. And that's why I'm in politics, because the voter deserves to be leveled with. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: No, absolutely not. The Greens are the only ones, with ‘Mission: Possible’, that actually have a program that will meet the IPCC goals. Our plan is to reduce GHG emissions by 60% by 2030, and then net zero by 2050. The other parties are saying they are going to reach net zero by 2050, but basically they’re on the same trajectory as Harper’s government was, and we know that that was not going to meet the Paris Accord let alone what’s being recommended with IPCC, which is really more of an emphasis on changing things quickly. Incremental solutions are not going to work in this particular case. So, we are very confident in our platform, ‘Mission: Possible’, and the amazing side effect of that is that we are going to finally get ourselves into the 21st century in terms of our economy and away from extraction industries, and so that’s going to create a plethora of new job opportunities.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: I think we're on course to meet our obligations. The Liberal Party announced in the platform that we would be achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. I think that at the end of the day, the most important thing is to get to net zero, so that's what I'm kind of really focused on.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: On our current trajectory, no the NDP does not believe that we will, that's why we've committed to reduce reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent. By 2030, and we want to move to fully electrified fleet of transit vehicles across the country by the same date, and move more, we have more aggressive targets set for 2015. But certainly for 2030. We believe that we have to dramatically increase our current target. So the liberal targets are set too low and they're not ambitious enough.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: No. Under our Conservative plan, I believe we have the best approach and best plan for climate change. A real plan. You invest money in technology to protect the environment with greener and cleaner patterns. For example, we have Queen’s research students, smart people. Give them money. So [making] sure we create technology that stays here so we don't have what happened in the past. Canadians create all this great technology, then the government [doesn’t] care. They sell to the US. And it's not right. We have to make sure it stays in Canada.

 

The province’s Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey returned results evidencing significant numbers of students experiencing sexual harassment and assault on Ontario post-secondary campuses. What specific policies can the federal government enact to address this issue?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: That is our jurisdiction. The Criminal Code is a federal jurisdiction. So you're asking a question that is within my jurisdiction to answer. Of course, Justice also has a provincial component. That is where I’d work with a Member of Provincial Parliament as well. I have five children, three daughters. One has been in a university. I am aware of the realities of universities and post-secondary institutions from what she has experienced, and from what her friends have experienced. I was also an RCMP officer for 28 years. I did what we call contract policing in British Columbia. Contract is being a regular police officer, as opposed to the federal type of policing, which is what we do in Ontario. I am very concerned about the #MeToo situation, the mixed messages and wrong messages that are being sent to males in our generation. I'm ferociously protective of anybody, not just women, but anybody, because we could be talking about LGBTQ sexual violence, let's not forget there’s gender orientation involved here, too. We believe that the rights and freedoms of everybody have to be equally protected. I'm passionate about that one.

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: One of the plans that the Greens see is really looking at health and wellness promotion programs, to really start exposing some of the issues that people are experiencing. Hopefully having peer pressure in the right direction, as opposed to the wrong direction. But also really trying to deal with stigma. One of the issues that we feel is very prevalent, whether its women or LGBTQ communities, is that we really need to ensure that there are safe spaces for people to raise their voices and raise their concerns. That is one of the plans that we would be looking at. It’s not just an issue around campus. It’s an issue of, quite frankly, gender roles from a very young age, and what is perceived as permissible and what is not. 

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: Outside of legislation, which already prohibits sexual harassment. I think the federal government can enact policies to properly inform and prepare and educate people on what sexual harassment is, how the government or how people can report it, how they can ensure that if they witness it, they can have a safe place to report that information. It's something that should have a holistic approach; you'd want your federal and provincial government working together on it. I hope that this would be seen as a non-partisan issue that both the federal and provincial government could work on together.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: That is a difficult question. Because as you know, post-secondary education falls under the purview of the provincial government, rather than the federal government. That said, NDP government would be committed to working closely with our provincial partners, and with post-secondary institutions, to provide support to provide funding for anti-violence initiatives on campus. But, you know, it's my belief that the people who are on the campus, people who have been doing this work on the ground, the people who have been advocating these things, these things for a long time, no. Personal precisely what concrete measures needs to be taken place. And the answers will be different, particular post-secondary institutions. But you know, the role for the federal government, again, because of some of the jurisdictional issues with the one of support, and providing funding for those sorts of initiatives when we can. 

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: If someone [commits] assault, you can go and make a complaint and then press charges. It’s all that exists. I’m not sure of the question.

As you campaign, how will you mobilize young voters in this riding, given the significant young population?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: The New England style town hall meeting has become a waste of time in campaigns. People would rather swallow a live goldfish than go to a lot of political debates, and the reason is simple: questions aren't answered, people aren't respected. I'd love to see somebody, if they could do it in the next few days or a week, organize a debate. The rules would be, if you make an ad hominem attack, you get censured in the debate, and there's a record kept of these censures. If you don't answer the question, you pivot, like a lot of politicians do to the question they wish that I asked, you get censured. If you don't respect a time limit, you go one second over, you get censured. And although nothing would happen to the candidate, per se, there would be a record maintained to see who was being the most respectful. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: I think one thing is just being visible where young people are. For example, I’ve been actively involved, basically all summer and fall, with the Fridays for Future protests in front of City Hall. I make an appearance for as much time as I can spare, so that allows me to speak with young people in terms of their concerns. The other piece would be, again, dealing with the different groups, including here at Queen’s, but also other environmental groups and social justice groups in the city. We really view ourselves as, quite frankly, the party of youth. In terms of some more concrete steps, we do have a liaison here, a Queen’s student who has revived the Queen’s Greens club and we were out in force in frosh week. 

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: I'm very fortunate to have had many young people on my campaign, many Queens students that have been volunteering. This election, we're just about to surpass the total number of doors knocked on and phone calls made through the riding, and that's largely because of Queen’s students and younger volunteers that we've had throughout the summer and spring and right into the election. I think the important thing is that young people get involved regardless of what political party they choose to get involved in. It's about having discussions and not talking about politics as though it's a taboo subject. 

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Well, one of the things that we have been doing more broadly is, I'm proud to say, the climate change agenda is one of the central parts of our platform. We know that this is one of the top concerns that young people have in Canada. They've been at the forefront here globally and mobilizing around these sorts of issues. Also, one of our policy platforms is to bring the voting age down to 16, so there's been some outreach that's been done in schools and that sort of thing like local schools. We've been talking to them, we've had students come into our campaign and want to know more, because a lot of the schools and Kingston are doing kind of they have initiatives on civics and local politics. And they've been really curious about the local scene in terms of the federal election and wanting to know about different candidates. And we also have a number of Queens, NDP students here as well, who have been just a tremendous support for us. They've done lots of work in terms of getting out in the community, the most of the broader community and build a student community. And really, they've just been indispensable to the campaign. I'm very grateful for the work that queens students have done in terms of helping me with this campaign and helping us get our message out to voters across the city.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: What I see is too much disinformation. What I notice here, unfortunately, young people, students have influence and they don't do a proper job, they don't do research. They just go by what somebody said. And they pick the headline, and they know go to the store, and then they just assume that this is it. So we have to educate. I believe we need to educate people about it, because I want to knock on the doors. We have to send proper information to everybody and educate young people, especially because they’re very vulnerable. Students like you, they get very easy to influence. I was young, too, I believe in all like pink bubble, everything cool, but we have to be realistic. I believe we have to prepare our young generation for real life. At the same time, encourage young people. It’s your country, and you have a voice, it's up to you.

 

Do you believe Canada is currently on track to implement the calls to action from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: Indigenous issues are inscribed on my heart. My two daughters are first nations: Miꞌkmaq and Haudenosaunee. I policed the Yellowhead Highway, the Highway of Tears, in B.C. I policed the stretch between Prince George and Prince Rupert, which is about 720 kilometers. I've done First Nations policing. I spoke to a local Indigenous leader here, Grandmother Laurel Claus-Johnson. This is her statement in five words: “Nothing about us, without us.” We just released, and I would ask people to take a look, at our Aboriginal issues platform, which is going to be based on a foundation of mutual respect. We are the only party that is going to actually tackle the problem that is the Indian Act. It is a conflict with our Constitution. Our party is all about the Constitution. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: I don’t think we’re at all on target. There’s been a lot of lip service paid. I think what’s happened is that the Liberals pay a lot of lip service, but in the end when it really comes to taking concrete action, it doesn’t happen. In particular, the findings of the report, where, even Trudeau, at his original press conference, was reluctant to use the term genocide, when the evidence is overwhelming that we have systematic racism here. It’s racism but it’s also quite frankly patriarchy, as well as misogyny. In terms of the Greens, we plan on taking immediate action in terms of starting to work on the many calls to action in that report. 

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: The relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous communities throughout Canada is a relationship that has been severely damaged over 200-300 years, and it's something that needs to be corrected. It's something that needs to come to terms with the reality of what happened. It’s something that requires true reconciliation, and part of that reconciliation would be addressing the issue of the missing and murdered Indigenous and Aboriginal women. It's always a really touchy subject for me. Every single one of those women and girls [who] went missing. all of them are a daughter to somebody or a mother to somebody. There's no doubt in my mind that we will always need to do more. I don't know if I'm really in a position to give a grade on the current government and how well they've done, but no matter what, we always have to strive to do more.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: No.  In short, I'm of the belief that we haven't done enough to address the recommendations that Justice Sinclair spelled out for us that I think there's been some attempts to nibble around the issues that confront indigenous people around the edges. But when we're really getting to the heart of the matter, and that's reconfiguring our old colonial relationship with indigenous people, and this, the center of which is the Indian act, that that's really what we have to address. And we have to move to our post-colonial framework where indigenous people are at the table and indigenous people are not. And more than that, more than just being at the table, that indigenous people have the right of prior first consent, when we're talking about initiatives that impact indigenous communities, so you know, beyond all of the infrastructural investments that we know, that we need to make on indigenous reserves, and the know the ways in which indigenous people still don't have the same sorts of educational outcomes, or health outcomes with Canadians at all needs to be addressed. But there's a more fundamental problem. And there's a lack of a respectful relationship with the original caretakers of the land that we need to address first and foremost, and again, the Indian Act has to go.

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party:  I [don’t] 100 per cent have [an] answer. I have to look deeper.

 

What would be your final message to students?

Andy Brooke, PPC: The conveyor belt is moving steadily. The natural course is one generation passes the baton to the next. I am not pleased with how our generation is handling things. That's why I'm in politics: to do my part. We do not inherit our fiscal or physical environment from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. And I want them to know that this candidate understands that we're borrowing from their future and I'm going to be very respectful and mindful in every action I do, whether it's a budget decision, how we approach First Nations, the legacy and justice that we need to deal with sexual violence against anybody. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Vote. Anyone under 50 should vote, whoever you vote for. Vote Green, vote Christmas, but that aside, please, please, please vote. One of the big challenges we have actually is with adults saying that we’re going to vote strategically, except that, we’ve seen this happen time and time again now. It started with Hillary vs Trump, carried over with Ford, is people talking about strategic voting, except that the initial thesis of that falls apart when 35% of the electorate is not voting. And a lot of those are young people or oftentimes people from disadvantaged communities who feel disenfranchised. I’ve talked to a lot of youth, and it breaks my heart, because the climate emergency is giving people significant mental anguish. What we’ve been trying to do is really present the Greens as the party of hope. Elizabeth May is an incredible parliamentarian, she’s been at it since 2011, but previous to that, she was actually the chief advisor to the Mulroney government when the Montreal Protocol came about, which addressed the O-zone hole. So she has that background. 

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: My message to students would be that the most important thing is for them to just get engaged. I'm not saying go and get involved in a campaign, but just talk about politics. Talk about what's going on and talk about what the Prime Minister's doing. Talk about what the leader of the opposition is doing, talk about what the alternatives are. Talk about what city council does. Just participate and become informed about what's going on. I'm not even telling them they have to vote. I'm just saying, become informed on what's going on and feel free to openly talk about political subjects with other people. I know if they do that, the rest will follow them.

Barrington Walker, the NDP: My final message is to students would be to encourage students to participate in the democratic process, that even in the midst of midterms, and papers, and all of these other things that I know that students have going on, because I've been a member of the Queen's community for a long time, that exercising the democratic right, no matter what party you vote for, is tremendously important. And to recognize that. Yeah, to recognize that in not too short of time. Students here at this university and other universities will be tasked with the responsibility of deciding where this country goes over the course of the 21st century. It’s a responsibility that I am confident and proud to say that the students at Queen’s University are going to be more than able to fulfill.  

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: Just get out and vote. Students have to understand one thing: if they don’t get involved in the election and politics, they cannot complain. They have to make the right choice, what would be best for them, benefit them. Who will be the best person to represent them, who will understand their language? I think they have to choose, especially here in Kingston, [a] local candidate who will actually represent them one hundred percent and advocate for them and fight for them. 

 

If you could invite three guests to dinner, dead or alive, who would you invite?

Andy Brooke, the PPC: Abraham Lincoln. Sir John A. Macdonald, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Candice Christmas, the Green Party: Albert Einstein, Renee Descartes, and Joan of Arc.

Mark Gerretsen, the Liberal Party: Avicii, John F. Kennedy, and Tommy Douglas. 

Barrington Walker, the NDP: Hugh Burnett, Frederick Douglas, and J.S Woodsworth. 

Ruslan Yakovychuck, the Conservative Party: First of all, invite some homeless guys to feed them. People who need, I will feed. 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.