Three of the five candidates took part in the BurlingtonGreen sponsored debate - the other two were no shows.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2019



It wasn’t really a debate – it was an occasion when three of the five people running for the House of Commons seat for Burlington sat beside each other and responded to questions put to them by the moderators.

Two of the five did not attend: Jane Michaels said she had a meeting conflict and the People’s Party Candidate said he had a dental appointment. Something to remember when you get to the polling stations.

candidates at debate 3

The three candidates who showed up – from the left Lenaee Dupuis, Gareth Williams and Karina Gould.

Lenaee Dupuis spoke for the New Democrats, Gareth Williams for the Green Party and Karina Gould for the Liberals; Gould is seeking re-election.

There was really just the one issue – climate change. Everything else was somehow related to the climate.

Throughout the event each candidate threw out numbers: $15 million here; another $150 million there; 300,000 jobs or 50,000 housing units.

It was all in their party platforms which you could find on line.

Fast forward to the end of the debate – Karina Gould spoke of the empty seat that was set up for the Conservative party candidate Jane Michaels, and said a vote for the Conservatives was a vote for an empty seat in the House of Commons.


Lenaee  Dupuis, candidate for the New Democrats.

Lenaee Dupuis was pleasant enough and had a decent grip on the issues – electable – probably not.

Gareth Williams has the wind in his sails but he is going to have to loosen up and come across as approachable.

He was a little bit better at this election than he was during the municipal election.

Williams knows his stuff – he has been active in the community for well over a decade and was one of the first people in Burlington to put solar panels on the roof of his house.

Up until this election Williams has been a Liberal. He lost faith in the party and doesn’t believe they are the answer to the climate change tsunami that is coming our way. He said he could not accept the way the Liberals failed to deliver on their promises.

There were mentions of the affordable housing issue, very little about the growing number of seniors in the community and how that was going to be dealt with.

There was mention of the need to deliver more in the way of gas taxes to the municipal sector.
Gould had the facts and figures down pat – she delivered very well.

voice 19

Burlington Green creating space and opportunity for the public to hear what candidates had to say.

The event was sponsored by Voice 19 – the name BurlingtonGreen gave their election coverage.

The event was held at NuvoOne, the former location of the 100 Huntley Street television series. The building is undergoing a major refit. It currently has 80 different organizations with 300 people using some of the space. It is one of those buildings you can easily get lost in.

The NuvoOne concept has huge potential – the refit, based on the plans will be very attractive.

Sean SAulnier

Sean Saulnier, owner of NuvoOne – location of the Burlington Green election debate.

Sean Saulnier, owner of NuvoOne, donated the space for the event and then put on a small buffet and a cash bar. It has been some time since this city has seen a commercial organization put on free food.

The environment was the issue – with climate change as the focal point.

Williams was close to strident on the need to make changes now – not in a couple of months – but now.

“This is not a choice” he said –“ this is an imperative.”

Gould cautioned the audience to be realistic – she pointed out that “the kids get it” and added that they don’t see much in the way of solutions. She mentioned a student she talked to at a high school event. He told her that all he was hearing was how bad it was going to be and that was scaring him – he didn’t know what he could do – and he didn’t see a very bright future.

Gould said “We need plans people can participate in. This is the biggest challenge we have ever had to face and many of the young people don’t know what they can do.” The kid in the high school reflected the views of a lot of people. While they “get it” they aren’t being given much in the way of tools to make the difference.


Karina Gould, the incumbent in the 2019 federal election talking with a voter at the BurlingtonGreen debate last night.

They can go on marches, take part in protest and hold up smartly written signs. Gould was suggesting we had to give them more. “If people think they are losing they won’t be with us. We need to prepare people for the transition to a different economy. A “just transition” was the way Gould put it.

Williams wanted to see the billions in subsidies to the fossil fuel directed to writing off the billions in student debt.

Gould pointed to the funding being done now to re-train workers in the automotive sector and the oil and gas sector to work in the environmental sector where answers have to be found for some very complex issues.

Gould pointed out that people are not opposed to doing something about climate change but they are not all that keen on paying for those changes.

In the automotive sector there are far more pick-up trucks being sold than electric vehicles – the message has not gotten through.

All three candidates took shots at the Harper government and the changes he made that are seen now as retrograde. Andrew Sheer, the Conservative party leader was seen as a smaller version of Harper. Neither Sheer nor the Prime Minster was the issue. The issue was who can get a handle on the problem we are facing. That dilemma is reflected in the polls – the two traditional parties are in one of those neck and neck ties.

The questions put to the candidates came from different sources. The first was the only question the candidates saw in advance. The rest came from youth groups, the 300 people who worked at NuvoOne, were asked for their input – the uptake was pretty poor. This is the cohort that is supposed to be coming up with all the new technology to solve our problems. They didn’t put anything on the table at the debate last night.

There were some prepared questions from the audience but there were no direct questions from the floor.
Two statements pointed up some of the difference between Gareth Williams and Lenaee Dupuis. Gareth said “you cannot negotiate with physics and science. Dupuis said she wanted to “make life better for everyone”

Gould closed with: “We can do this, we can make people feel they are part of the solution.” Williams saw this as an “all hands on deck” situation.

The audience was polite, courteous and appreciative – this is Burlington,

What was missing was any of the candidate resonating with the audience. There wasn’t a really stunning comment or a well worded retort.

Gould was good, Williams knew his stuff and Dupuis was wearing orange.

Gareth Williams

Centre Gareth Williams made one of the strongest statements – but he never managed to grab and hold the audience.

What the audience didn’t get to see was any one-on-one between the candidates. At some point one of the organizations sponsoring these events will grow up and treat the audience like adults and make the candidate truly on-the-spot accountable.

Dupuis could have asked Gold and Williams a direct question. The other two, Williams and Gould would be given the same opportunity.

There were no sparks – but Williams did make an irrefutable point – there is no negotiating with physics or science.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 comments to Three of the five candidates took part in the BurlingtonGreen sponsored debate – the other two were no shows.

  • BJ

    The Conservative candidate here in Burlington could have missed the Chamber of Commerce candidate debate as well. Never before have I witnessed such responses and lack of attention from a candidate at an important event. She spent too much time shuffling papers to find answers to the questions that she had the moderator repeat twice. Wake up and realize you are out of your depth.

  • Walter Migliaro

    Philip, why should we be concern about Trudeau not attending a debate we already know him. Jane and all other candidates needs to answer questions, to explain where they stand in issues that concern the community they are seeking to represent.

  • Bob

    From a previous opinion piece reply over on NUVO, but worth repeating, and with a few additional words.

    Conservative HQ in Ottawa, end-ran the Burlington Conservative Association and acclaimed Jane Michael over the Association’s recommendation.

    The Burlington Conservative Association, long time members with local knowledge of the Party’s pick, voiced their concerns over the selection. These concerns fell on deaf ears and were struck down.

    Again, and to repeat, that I’m hypothesizing, but to miss debates, it must be under HQ instruction, and for reasons of ineptitude by the candidate, and that the local campaign is on remote and damage control.

    The readership can draw their own conclusions on the reasons for ducking debates and showing your face to a crowd looking for a reason to vote one way or other.

    Crazy, why would you need to dodge a Public-School Q&A session. As pointed out elsewhere, is this too much of an ask, to collect $180k, a pension maybe, up in Ottawa, if and only if you get elected and warm the back-bench?

    Writing out loud, any this is for any candidate, he or she without the guts to stand up in a debate, show your colours, your knowledge of local issues, cross Canada issues, the climate, convictions, you name it, certainly appears to be disingenuous and a reflection of one’s character.

    Surely, this is just not about the money.

    Or is it ?

  • david barker

    Philip, I would rather Trudeau had participated, particularly in light of Sneer’s awful performance at the French debate. So I do hope Jane Michaels participates in this week’s upcoming debate. But she does seem to be following Jane McKenna’s example of not providing constituents with any public forum open question opportunities. It is incumbent upon all candidates to make themselves available to the electorate in an unchoreographed manner. It used to be that candidates would stand on a soapbox in a town square make a speech then take questions.

  • gfraser

    PC no show is a NO win in Burlington

  • Stephen White

    Meeting conflict and dentist’s appointment? Seriously?

    This election has been scheduled for years. Candidates knew long ago they have to make themselves available to meet with constituents to explain their party’s platform and answer questions and concerns. It is unacceptable that party nominees avoid meeting with different stakeholders and community groups simply because they may not concur with the philosophy or mandate of the meeting sponsor.

    I’m one Tory supporter who definitely will not be voting Conservative this election. It’s bad enough having to endure a Party Leader who looks, sounds and resembles Joe Clark redux complete with endless gaffes and miscues. It is even worse that the Party’s local candidate plays “hide and seek” with electors on the specious assumption that voters will simply anoint her by virtue of her past office and deeds. Sorry, but that’s not how it works, and if she wasn’t prepared to accept the responsibilities of a candidate to attend meetings and make herself widely available during a 35 day campaign then she had absolutely no right seeking the nomination in the first place.

  • david barker

    Maybe, and hopefully, Thursday’s debate will be more action and the public will be able to ask questions of candidates on an impromptu basis So no prep time for the candidates.

    I understand Jane Michaels is in the same hidey hole as Jane McKenna; both hoping not to be accosted by a constituent with a direct pointed question.

    • Phillip Wooster

      I’m a Conservative and I would like to see Jane attend the next debate. However, David, were you very concerned when Trudeau skipped the first two debates?