Service cuts were on the minds of voters during a debate between nine Ottawa South candidates as hundreds of residents crammed into the Canterbury Community Centre Wednesday night.
“I watched the healthcare system demoralize” under the Mike Harris government, said resident Pam Robin.
But Progressive Conservative candidate Matt Young said the Tories will “prioritize the programs that matter to people.”
That will result in slashing programs in hospitals such as CHEO and firing doctors, teachers, and the like, Liberal John Fraser retorted.
PC leader Tim Hudak is “going to bring us back to 1995,” Fraser said, adding he’s seen that movie before.
New Democrat Bronwyn Funiciello said the NDP will “protect public services. It is of the utmost importance to do so.”
Financial restraint is another major issue for voters.
“I don’t like the overspending of McGuinty’s Liberals. I think they should consider it to be ‘our money’ rather than their own money,” said Terry Hay, an Ottawa South resident for 25 years.
Green Party candidate Taylor Howarth addressed the province’s mounting debt.
“This is the burden that we’re going to be carrying for the rest of our lives,” said Howarth.
Despite having nine candidates, “I don’t feel there’s a lot of choice,” said Peggy Winstan.
“I can pretty much eliminate probably seven or eight of the nine.”
Advance polls run until Friday and byelection day is Aug. 1.
Five out of 107 seats in the Ontario legislature are currently vacant.
The Liberals hold 48 seats, the Progressive Conservatives snagged 36 seats while the New Democrats hold 18 seats.