What in the Panel?!

Simcoe North candidates visit Lakehead Orillia

On Tuesday, October 8th Lakehead University, along with LUSU and the Department of Political Science held a student-led panel with the Simcoe North candidates running in the upcoming election. The Candidates were Valerie Powell of the Green Party, Bruce Stanton of the Conservative Party, Angelique Belcourt of New Democrat Party, Gerry Hawes of Liberal Party and Stephen T. Makk of the People’s Party of Canada. The panel also included a meet and greet with the candidates, which was beneficial for the students here in Orillia as we got to speak to those running in Simcoe North.

Green Party candidate, Valerie Powell was eager to speak with students, and sent a quote following the panel, saying: “Lakehead students clearly let the candidates know the issues. Regardless of whether we become MP or whether our party governs, our job is to take these messages back to our inform our policies.”

On the panel were Aleesha Gostkowski, Tosh Withington, Evan Mchardy, Sandy Cifuentes, Dan Scholt and Brandon Rheal Amyot, all of whom are Political Science majors or have a focus on Political Science in their interdisciplinary studies. 

The panel moderator,  Dr. Todd Stubbs, an interdisciplinary professor at the Orillia campus asked what students want and expect for the future of Canada. The students spoke about full health care, affordable housing, and free education or debt-free education. After the panel was done and each student answered, the candidates were each given four minutes to tell the students about their party’s platform. The students reacted well to this, but not many asked questions. 

Stephen Makk, the People’s Party of Canada candidate was not well received. After his four minutes, some students were unimpressed -- Adam Richards, a second-year Media student said, “I wish the PPC guy never showed up.” This statement was echoed by a few other students. 

For the most part, the panel was well-received, but some did not enjoy it, saying that it was kept a little too personal for them. Matthew Smith, a second-year Science major said: “I hoped it would have been more candidate focused rather than run by students with little to no facts to back up their thoughts.” 

Overall, the panel and candidates were welcomed onto our campus for the night to talk about important issues. It was a great reminder that everyone needs to get out and vote in this federal election. Read some articles, do the research and vote for what you think Canada needs. Voting is a right for any Canadian citizen 18 years or older. Polls open at 9:30 am on October 21. You can find your voting station and register vote at www.elections.ca. Remember, it’s Our Vote.


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