NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, fellow B.C. byelection candidates face fiery debate


NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was one of a number of candidates in the riding of Burnaby South who took heat at a fiery debate that happened as part of a federal byelection campaign on Wednesday night.

The debate included four candidates: Singh, the Liberals’ Richard Lee, the Conservatives’ Jay Shin, and the People’s Party of Canada’s Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson.

WATCH: Jan. 19 — Races heating up in key byelections in B.C.

As the debate began, a protester wearing a jacket that displayed the logo of the American Indian Movement started yelling toward the stage, directing his anger at Singh, though he also had harsh words for parties beside the NDP.

“The last part of your land, you guys want to take it for oil? You don’t have consent,” the protester said.

Singh responded, but the protester spoke up again: “yeah, why are you supporting LNG then?”

READ MORE: Campaigns hit high gear in Burnaby South, where NDP leader seeks a seat

Singh has publicly taken B.C.’s side when it comes to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline — he’s 100 per cent opposed, he said in May.

He later said the federal government should abandon the expansion altogether.

The NDP leader said he would be happy to chat with the protester after the debate, but he wasn’t interested.

“We don’t want you elected if you’re supporting pipelines,” the protester said.

“We don’t want any NDP elected, and then we’ll deal with the Conservatives and the Liberals next year, when you try to bring in the army, when you try to bring in the RCMP against our people.

“We’re used to the white Europeans taking our land, now we’ve got coloured people, coloured people coming here, saying we want your land too,” he went on to say.

“Who’s being racist now? There’s your debate, eh.”

The debate was hosted by the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, an organization that believes a “strong CBC, fearless journalism, and our shared story make us who we are.”

The focus of the debate was expected to be the future of Canadian media in the age of Facebook.

However, other topics soon took over — and a battle over signs erupted on the sidelines.

Conservative candidate Jay Shin talked about the federal Liberals’ promise to balance the federal budget by 2019: “that hasn’t happened.”

Thompson talked about how she had been banned from Facebook three times.

Thompson has drawn controversy for her opposition to SOGI 123 — a curriculum focused on sexual orientation and gender identity within B.C.’s school system.

WATCH: Jan. 13 — Byelection campaign in Burnaby South ramps up

In the past, she has said that it teaches “gender-fluid ideology to all children in British Columbia.”

Of being banned from Facebook, she said, “I wear it as a badge of honour, because it means I was speaking truth.

“Speaking truth has become an act of courage and it ought not to be that way in Canada.”

Thompson drew raucous cheers and applause from supporters who carried large campaign signs to the debate.

They could be heard chanting, “Laura! Laura! Laura!”

READ MORE: ANALYSIS — With the NDP focused on B.C., Jagmeet Singh may lose a crucial beachhead in Quebec

However, one issue related to broadcasting and media did generate discussion among the candidates — “fake news.”

Asked whether any of the candidates had been victimized by fake news in the past, both Singh and Thompson said yes, they had.

Singh said an ad circulated recently that suggested he and his wife lived in a $5.5-million mansion.

“And my wife is like, if that’s the mansion we live in, why don’t you take me there?” he said, drawing laughs from the audience.

Thompson, meanwhile, said reporting had emerged that suggested she had once stood alongside an organization that, she claimed, she had never heard of.

“That’s fake news,” she said.

  • With files from Richard Zussman

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Mayoral forum on affordable housing derailed by gate-crashing candidates, shouting


What was meant to be a mayoral forum on affordable housing briefly descended into chaos Monday night as crowd members stood and chanted and uninvited mayoral candidates either dominated or refused to leave the stage.

The forum, in the auditorium at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, was planned as a night for candidates to present their platforms on affordable housing.

Police clear disruptive audience members at a mayoral forum on affordable housing at the University of Toronto on Monday.
Police clear disruptive audience members at a mayoral forum on affordable housing at the University of Toronto on Monday.  (Emily Mathieu/Toronto Star)

Moderator Angela Robertson, executive director of the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, started the event in a thoughtful tone and throughout and after the chaos somehow managed to keep the night moving.

“We need a mayor and candidates who will say yes to housing in my backyard. They must believe that cities must be a home” that belongs to all of us, said Robertson, at the start of the night.

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The disruption began a few minutes after the candidates took the stage when some in the audience shouted in support of allowing white nationalist candidate Faith Goldy to debate.

The chaos escalated when mayoral candidate Kevin Clarke — who had joined the speakers on stage — began loudly shouting he would debate Goldy, given the chance.

The invited candidates then left the stage as police escorted some of most disruptive members of the audience out, including Clarke.

Uninvited candidate D!ONNE Renée — who planted herself on stage at the start of the night — remained on stage throughout the disruption.

After the disruption, Robertson resumed control of the stage and invited Gebresellassi back, where she slammed Tory for not attending and Keesmaat for not returning to the stage.

That decision to leave “should tell each and every one of us that this is no progressive champion for us.”

Campaign spokesperson Beth Clarkson sent a short emailed statement in response to a question from the Star about why Keesmaat left.

“Jennifer left the stage when it seemed there was no longer an opportunity for open discussion. It’s unfortunate tonight’s event was so chaotically disrupted and she hopes no one was injured,” said Clarkson.

Climenhaga next called for raising property taxes or finding additional funding streams for more housing. “The only way we will have housing is if we fund it.”

Renée lambasting the media for not covering her campaign, which she called the most progressive of all the candidates. “If we say we are about centring issues of housing and homelessness that is what we need to do.”

Outside of the occasional bout of shouting — from one straggler screaming in support of Goldy and some animated audience members — the rest of the evening remained mostly on track, thanks largely to calm direction from moderator Robertson.

Once the invited candidates were called up to share more information about their platforms, Robertson encouraged any other candidates in the audience to speak and then opened up the talk for audience questions. She closed out by thanked everybody who stayed and organizers for pivoting.

“When we are working for social change we need to be prepared for messes,” she said.

The night was organized by about 60 agencies who created an affordable housing pledge, that was sent to all candidates for mayor and city council in late September.

Included in the proposed steps: “No more homeless deaths, financial stability for Toronto Community Housing, make ‘affordable housing’ truly affordable, ensure new residential development includes everyone (and) mobilize Toronto’s resources to build more affordable housing.”

Keesmaat, Gebresellassi and Climenhaga have signed. Tory has not, but sent the group a letter on Monday detailing his actions on and commitments to the issues.

Tory and leading contender Keesmaat have both pledged to boost affordable rental housing stock across the city, promising to create 40,000 new units in 12 years and 100,000 over 10, respectively. Both have also pledged to repair and protect ailing social housing stock, which includes Toronto Community Housing.

Emily Mathieu is a Toronto-based reporter covering affordable and precarious housing. Follow her on Twitter: @emathieustar


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Kingston’s mayoral candidates walk and talk with Bill Hutchins – Kingston


With the municipal elections fast approaching, Global Kingston spoke with each of Kingston’s four mayoral candidates to ask them why they are running this time around.

If you’re still undecided, watch these in-depth interviews with each candidate to help you decide between Eric Lee, Rob Matheson, Bryan Paterson and Vicki Schmolka on Oct. 22.

Global Kingston will also be airing a mayoral debate on Oct. 17, so be sure to stay tuned to Global Kingston or to watch the debate online.

Eric Lee

Eric Lee is known to many Kingstonians as the ‘elevator guy’ from the old S&R Department days.

Although Lee doesn’t have any political experience, he is hoping to rise to the top floor of city politics. He lists tax reform as one of the key platforms in his first-ever campaign for mayor. Lee says he wants to repeal the vacancy tax rebate law, which he blames for the number of vacant storefronts in the city’s downtown core at the moment.

He also wants to focus on protecting tenants from landlords, who he says don’t take care of their properties despite tenant complaints.

‘I’m the person for this’: Eric Lee, 68, files to join Kingston mayoral race

Watch the full interview below:

Rob Matheson

Rob Matheson served one term as city councillor for the Loyalist-Cataraqui District from 2006 to 2010 and then left politics to become a local cab driver.

He has also run for mayor once before, and councillor in the last municipal election for the Trillium District, loosing to Adam Candon, but Matheson believes its time for his political comeback.

The mayoral candidate describes himself as a champion of the working person, and he believes the current council has not been keeping the community’s best interest in mind.

Kingston councillors pass motion to review transparency issues for closed meetings

Matheson says the current council bungled the purchase of the Cataraqui West Open Space Lands — protected wetlands that can never be developed — with money spent that could have been better allocated. The mayoral candidate would also change Kingston’s annual tax rate, saying Paterson’s 2.5 per cent increases are also not sustainable.

Watch the full interview below:

Bryan Paterson

Incumbent mayor Bryan Paterson has served one term as mayor and hopes to serve at least one more. He says he wants to build on the momentum of growth started by the current council while promising to keep annual property tax hikes at or below 2.5 percent.

Mayor Bryan Paterson announces he will run again

Paterson listed the third crossing, the airport expansion and the improvements on Breakwater Park as accomplishments solidified while he was in office.

Paterson says he wants a chance to build more housing and to address the city’s low vacancy rate by pushing for more developments.

Potential leak of closed-meeting details has some Kingston councillors concerned

Paterson responded to criticism about how he and his council closed the deal with Homestead Land Holdings Ltd. to build two high rises — 19- and 23-storey buildings — on Queen Street. The approval of that deal was done behind closed doors and later voted on in public, a process some have criticized for its alleged lack of transparency.

Paterson defended the negotiations, arguing that some things needed to be done behind closed doors in order not to tip off Homestead of the city’s plans.

Watch the full interview below:

Vicki Schmolka

As a former city councillor, Vicki Schmolka represented the Trillium District from 2006 to 2010, and she believes city hall has lost its way and needs to get back to basics, like fixing roads and sidewalks. Schmolka was chair of planning committee for four years, and she believes the current council has been disrespecting residents who tried to get involved in the planning process of certain developments.

Kingston reaches deal with developer for two downtown high-rise apartments

Schmolka has also been a critic of the recent deal city hall made with Homestead Landholdings to build two high-rises on Queen Street, finally approved at 19 storeys and 23 storeys. Schmolka believes projects like these don’t follow the city’s official plan, and if she were mayor, she would opt for more residential development in the downtown core, but with buildings six- to eight-storeys high at the maximum.

Watch the full interview below:

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Toronto mayoral candidates debating housing, business and transportation tonight


With less than two weeks until Torontonians vote, mayoral candidates go head-to-head Tuesday night in what is expected to be one of the final debates.

The Toronto Region Board of Trade and the Globe and Mail newspaper host the event featuring Mayor John Tory, former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, lawyer and social activist Saron Gebresellassi and environmental advocate Sarah Climenhaga.

The debate, at the Board of Trade’s downtown office, starts at 6 p.m. The topic is “Agenda For Growth: Better Housing, Better Business & Better Transportation.” Organizers invite people to watch a livestream of the debate.


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UCP candidates posed with far-right group Soldiers of Odin, say they didn’t know who they were


EDMONTON—After photos of three United Conservative Party (UCP) candidates posing and smiling with members of an extremist hate group circulated online Sunday, the party said their event has been “deliberately crashed” by a smaller political party.

The photos were taken at a UCP constituency pub night for West Henday on Oct. 5. They show UCP Edmonton-West Henday candidates Nicole Williams, Leila Houle and Lance Coulter posing with members of Soldiers of Odin’s Edmonton chapter, who can be identified by their hats and hoodies marked with “S.O.O.”

United Conservative Party candidate Lance Coulter, right, poses with a member of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night in Edmonton on Oct. 5.
United Conservative Party candidate Lance Coulter, right, poses with a member of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night in Edmonton on Oct. 5.  (Facebook)

The nomination candidates have since stated they were not aware of who they were posing with. “Had we known at the time, we certainly would not have our pictures taken with these individuals,” said Williams and Houle in a joint statement.

StarMetro has reached out to candidate Lance Coulter for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Read more:

Rise of right-wing extremists presents new challenge for Canadian law enforcement agencies

UCP leader Jason Kenney took to Twitter in response to the backlash, writing a statement that blamed the Alberta Independence Party, a smaller political party in the province, for crashing the pub night.

“Disturbed to learn that a UCP pub night in Edmonton was crashed by supporters of the fringe ‘Alberta Independence Party,’ including members of hate groups,” Kenney wrote. He was not present at the event, according to a UCP spokesperson.

United Conservative Party candidate Nicole Williams, second left, poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night on Oct. 5 in Edmonton.
United Conservative Party candidate Nicole Williams, second left, poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night on Oct. 5 in Edmonton.  (Facebook)

A Soldiers of Odin Edmonton Facebook page originally posted the photos on Saturday, thanking UCP candidates for their support. The group is known for its anti-immigration sentiments, and are considered a far-right extremist group by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

The photos were then reposted by multiple users on Twitter, including the group Progress Alberta, criticizing UCP members for posing with the extremist group. Duncan Kinney, executive director of Progress Alberta, said in an interview with StarMetro he does not believe the candidates were unaware of who they posed with.

“Their claims are obviously untrue,” he said. “ … If you were a politically aware person in 2018, you should know who the white-supremacist, racist, vigilante gangs are in Edmonton, and you should make sure that you don’t take pictures with them.”

United Conservative Party candidate Leila Houle, left, poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night on Oct. 5 in Edmonton.
United Conservative Party candidate Leila Houle, left, poses with members of the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right extremist group, during a pub night on Oct. 5 in Edmonton.  (Facebook)

On their Twitter account, the UCP said their event was deliberately crashed by a man named Dave Bjorkman, who identifies himself on Facebook as a member of the Alberta Independence Party. The United Conservatives pointed to a Facebook post by Bjorkman, in which he wrote he was “happy to share [a] pub night” with the Soldiers of Odin in a “split event with the UCP.”

Bjorkman has since responded to the UCP’s claim that he hijacked their public event on Friday, writing on Facebook that he was invited to the event by the United Conservatives.

Alongside their joint statement, Williams and Houle also responded to backlash separately on social media, both condemning the extremist group.

“I know now, and I do not share the despicable views of this group.” Williams wrote on Twitter. “While we were in a public place, had I known their views I would have requested that they leave as their hate is not welcome in our party.”

Houle wrote on Facebook, “As an Indigenous woman, I condemn — in the strongest possible way – the SOO, and the violent, racist activity they have been attached to in Edmonton and across Canada. She added she wishes to move on from this “disturbing event.”


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Calgary on shortlist of three candidates to host 2026 Winter Olympics


Calgary is one of three candidates on the shortlist to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Thursday.

The IOC said that Calgary, Milan/Cortina (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden) are in the running for the Games. Erzurum (Turkey) didn’t make the list.

A young girl learns to skate on the ice at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Plaza in this file photo. Calgary is one of three candidates on the shortlist to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Thursday.
A young girl learns to skate on the ice at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Plaza in this file photo. Calgary is one of three candidates on the shortlist to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Thursday.  (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

The IOC will elect the winning bid at its session in September 2019.

Seven cities were originally in the running when the process began last year. Sion (Switzerland), Sapporo (Japan) and Graz (Austria) had pulled out in recent months over concerns of costs and local opposition to the big event.

The 12-3 vote in favour of continuing to a Nov. 13 plebiscite came after the Olympic Bid Corporation publicly presented details of their hosting plan earlier in the day.

BidCo, also known as Calgary 2026, presented a proposed budget of $5.23 billion, with $3 billion coming from public funds.



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Peterborough mayoral candidates square off in debate – Peterborough


Current councillor and mayoral hopeful Diane Therrien and current Mayor Daryl Bennett went toe-to-toe at a debate on the issues facing the City of Peterborough heading into this election.

The debate was hosted by Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors at the Lions Community Centre on Thursday night.

All of the questions from the association were about housing. When the audience had its turn to ask questions, most of them were about anything but housing.

One resident asked both candidates what their stance was on the sale of Peterborough’s public assets. The question stemmed from the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. to Hydro One, which is still pending approval from the Ontario Energy Board.

READ MORE: The pending sale of PDI to Ontario Hydro is becoming an election issue in Peterborough

“I believe that public utilities should remain in public hands,” said Therrien.

“We will look at all of our assets and make sure we’re getting the best value for them long-term,” said Bennett. “I’m a proponent of [the sale of PDI] for the right reasons. There’s a good reason for that sale to be transacted. It’s going to pay us dividends of immense quality and quantity going forward. I’m content with that.”

On the subject of homelessness in the city, one resident asked how can the city move forward with it as a major issue.

READ MORE: New stats on homelessness in Peterborough city, county reveal a few surprises

“It’s cheaper to keep people housed than put them through the shelter system, because it costs a lot more for them to go through the shelter system plus the economics and things that go on when kids get disrupted from schools,” said Therrien.  “We need to keep people housed and prioritize it.”

“We need a national housing strategy,” added Bennett. “We need it as quickly as we can get it to start to break down those barriers to prevent housing of affordability to those who are homeless and those who are in danger of becoming homeless.”

According to Peterborough police, 20 people died from opioid overdoses in the city in 2017. A resident asked how the city would work with police and other organizations when it comes to the opioid crisis.

READ MORE: ‘Understanding the Opioid Crisis’ event held in Lakefield

“We are going to take an open-minded approach to bring all the right people together to resolve the issue of the difficulties we have downtown. Some of it is drug-related, it’s not all drug-related. We have mental-health issues affecting people as well,” said Bennett.

“You can’t arrest your way out of these problems. We know that we need better supports for people. Methadone clinics are a flawed model. The province and Feds need to step up and help fund a comprehensive detox centre in our town,” said Therrien.

Online voting begins on Oct. 9. Election Day is Oct. 22.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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3 Metro Vancouver mayoral candidates facing citations from Law Society of B.C. – BC


Three Metro Vancouver mayoral candidates are facing investigations from the Law Society of B.C.

The reviews relate to the sitting mayor of Pitt Meadows, along with candidates in West Vancouver and Richmond.

West Vancouver mayoral hopeful Mark Sager led that city from 1990 to 1996, and is seeking the top job once again. He’s facing a citation for possible professional misconduct, following a complaint to the law society.

B.C. municipal election digest Sept. 27: This week’s top stories

It is alleged he accepted gifts totaling more than $100,000 from a client. Sager says it was a gift from a longtime family friend.

“This has been an incredibly unpleasant thing to go through,” he told Global News.

“I had helped this individual with a number of legal issues because of our 55-year relationship. A bond as close as I had with only my mother and father. I didn’t ever contemplate she was a client. I never billed her anything,” he said.

WATCH: Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections

The society is also reviewing complaints against Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker, who is also a lawyer by trade.

That probe relates to allegations of misappropriation of client trust funds, failing to deliver a bill and other professional misconduct.

“In due course, there will be a hearing panel. I will be providing evidence,” said Becker.

“I am very confident that when the process unfolds, I will be exonerated in full.”

LRT, legal pot and policing were hot topics at Surrey mayoral debate

Richmond mayoral hopeful Hong Guo is facing a citation from the law society relating to millions of dollars that are alleged to have gone missing from her company’s trust account.

Guo, a real estate lawyer, was unavailable for an interview.

“It’s going to put voters in a difficult position because these cases likely won’t come to conclusion before the vote happens,” said political scientist Stewart Prest.

Even so, at least one of the candidates remains positive about the upcoming election.

“I trust the people of West Vancouver, and I think they will see through this completely,” said Sager.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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