There wasn’t much in the way of verbal warfare when the three candidates for the Terra Nova district squared off in a debate hosted by the Clarenville Area Chamber of Commerce on May 8.
In fact, NL Alliance candidate Barry Moores, PC candidate Lloyd Parrott and Liberal candidate Colin Holloway tended to agree during the one-minute portions set aside for debate.
The structured event featured 12 questions — four to each candidate.
Each candidate had two minutes to respond to the question, followed by two minutes of rebuttal from one of the other candidates and then one minute for both to debate.
Moores’s opening was based on the importance of individual representation as opposed to the party system of politics – as is the NL Alliance’s mandate.
In addition, Moores called a vote for him in the upcoming election “a protest vote with a point.”
On the matter of encouraging the public to shop locally, Moores cited a need for government to help promote small businesses with more marketing, a point Parrott agreed on.
Moores also would push a small business strategy to create employment in the region through resources and education.
Asked about autism supports and child care services, Moores said it’s essential to open dialogue in the communities to further consult those directly affected.
As for the possibility of government funding for White Hills Ski Resort, he says the facility would benefit from further community efforts to improve its future.
Regarding the possibility of regional government, he talked about the county system in Nova Scotia working well and how this method can provide more clout for small towns throughout the province.
In closing, he talked about his distaste for past government decisions, like the amalgamation of the health boards, while reiterating that 40 independent representatives can make better decisions for the 500,000-plus citizens of the province.
Parrott said the method of sitting and waiting for the province to become a better place has “come and gone.”
He said the district of Terra Nova has been overlooked for the past four years.
On the issue of availability of affordable and healthy food, Parrott criticized the Liberal government for instituting a gas tax that he says increased costs of shipping food to the island, even after they promised no new taxes in the 2015 provincial election.
Parrott pledged to advocate for contributions for a regional swimming pool in the area, enhance autism support services and maintain the tuition freeze for post-secondary education.
Parrott says the economy is not driven by royalties and government needs to stop buying into programs that give royalties. While he doesn’t advocate job cuts, Parrott believes government needs to find a way to alleviate the dependency of the job market on public sector positions.
He supports giving incentives for small businesses to create jobs and wants to attract more companies to come to Newfoundland and Labrador.
He says it’s time for voters to hold their representatives accountable in this election.
As the incumbent, Holloway’s opening speech largely touted government contributions to the district over the past four years. He says his approach has been to advocate on the residents’ behalf to find the best solutions for each issue.
During the question portion, Holloway assured he’s been an advocate for more affordable food by helping invest in agriculture development.
He also cited investments to White Hills, positive steps to deal with crime and the Liberal government’s tuition freeze for post-secondary education.
During debate, Holloway noted the last taxes on gasoline were rescinded.
When asked about possible government contributions for a regional swimming pool, Holloway said he believes the need will be met if The Wave (which recently was destroyed by fire) is rebuilt privately.
On a question of whether he supports a regional municipal governance model, Holloway said regional government can work if towns and local service districts can find ways to share services to save costs. However, he says there needs to be equal representation in such a scenario.
When asked about child care being made more accessible for young families, Holloway cited the $60 million allocated for childhood development in the recent budget.
To close, Holloway said he’s been accessible to the public over his past four years as MHA and said he’s committed to work hard if re-elected.
About one hundred people showed up for the event in Clarenville.
A video of the event can be viewed on The Packet Community Newspaper Facebook page.
The provincial election is on Thursday, May 16.