Oakville, Burlington Conservative candidates skip only planned debate

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Published May 19, 2022 at 5:35 pm

Liberal Party's Kaniz Mouli was the only candidate who showed up from the Oakville-North Burlington riding. PC candidate Stephen Crawford did not show. KANIZ MOULI IMAGE

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s All-Candidates debate was missing something Monday (May 16).

Absent were the local Progressive Conservative candidates.


Both Oakville riding PC candidate Stephen Crawford and Oakville-North Burlington PC candidate Effie Triantafilopoulos skipped the only debate planned ahead of the Ontario election on June 2.

Liberal Party’s Kaniz Mouli was the only candidate who showed up from the Oakville-North Burlington riding.

As a result, what was to be a debate format changed to an interview. That left Mouli “disappointed” she wasn’t able to engage on the issues with Triantafilopoulos.

“Democracy is best served when there is a free exchange of ideas and all candidates are able to present their cases to let the voters decide,” Mouli said. “This was the only event planned for voters to see and hear from all the candidates running for election in Oakville North-Burlington.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Triantafilopoulos felt that it was not worth participating in this democratic exchange.”

The Liberal candidate said she was set to engage her opponent, who has who has served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Long-Term Care, on her government’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My opponent has proudly talked about her government’s record; however, I would have appreciated an

opportunity to challenge her on this,” Mouli added.

In the Oakville riding, only NDP candidate Maeve McNaughton and Liberal candidate Alison Gohel participated in the debate.

Green Party candidate Bruno Sosa was unable to take part after testing positive for COVID-19.

Gohel said she was disappointed Crawford didn’t have the “courage” to show up for Monday’s debate.

“I was looking forward to asking Stephen why his government sided with billionaires and big box stores over workers and small businesses, why his government makes deep cuts to valued public services instead of building up supports, why his government wants to spend $10 billion on a highway that very few people will benefit from, and why he won’t stand up for Oakville and reinstate the Kerr Street underpass project – a critical piece of infrastructure in our community,” Gohel told inhalton.com.

Crawford says his focus has been on talking directly to local residents in his riding.

“With a short campaign of only 28 days, we have been focused on knocking on doors and connecting directly with voters,” said Tim Porter, Crawford’s campaign manager.

Triantafilopoulos and Crawford weren’t the only local Conservative no shows. Burlington riding Conservative candidate Natalie Pierre also pulled out of the local debate.

Conservative candidates have also skipped debates in other ridings across the province.

“I think after all of that, what is most offensive is the lack of respect he demonstrated for business owners and Oakville residents, as well as for the organizers at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, by not even showing up,” added Gohel.

Inhalton.com reached out to Crawford, but as of early Thursday evening had not heard back from the Conservative incumbent.

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