Incumbent Liberal candidate Ahmed Hussen declined to attend the debate hosted by the Mount Dennis Community Association. Last week, he skipped the debate hosted by Friends of Smythe Park—meaning he has not attended any debates this election.
According to the MDCA, after Hussen decided to not attend, the other invited candidates cancelled. The MDCA said, the NDP and Conservatives “both felt that their candidates time was better spent at other activities.” (The PPC candidate was not invited to attend.)
Nicki Ward, the Green candidate, did attend, and answered questions as part of a town hall. Though I had to miss the first hour (kids had homework), it was quite a nice meeting. Ward was irreverent, knowledgeable and frequently funny. She also showed some of the research she did on hyperlocal inflation in the riding she’d like to represent, which I thought was quite interesting (though I am an economics nerd).
NDP candidate Hawa Mire said
… Less than 24 hours before the debate we had not been provided with any of the usual information – format, questions, or attendees. We were also informed the Liberal and Conservative candidates had dropped out of the event.
We went back and forth with the organizers to determine a format. Nothing was confirmed.
As a result of these discussions with organizers we withdrew from the event. Some hours later, we were informed it was to become a townhall and candidates were to get further information.
Unfortunately this did not happen.
I recognize that a 35 day election makes debates challenging to schedule, and understand the toll it takes on organizers of such events.
What I must be clear about was my intention to attend from the very beginning.
Our democracy relies on the opportunity to engage with and hold those seeking public office to account. This is a value I hold close to my heart…(Capitalization corrected, otherwise as written)
I haven’t heard back from Ahmed Hussen, nor from Sajanth Mohan, the Conservative candidate.