Far-right coming to UW

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UW protestors go on strike for the environment on September 20. An debate on the environment will be held at UW, but there’s a surprise guest. Photo by: David Yin

The Department of Political Science at the UW is sponsoring 100 Debates on the Environment-Waterloo on Oct. 9, 2019, at the Theatre of Arts.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. and registration is free for all, with a limit of six tickets per person. 

The debate will feature Lori Campbell (New Democratic Party), Bardish Chagger (Liberal Party), Kirsten Wright (Green Party), Jerry Zhang (Conservative Party). 

But the surprise candidate at the debate is Erika Traub from the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), whom the event organiers personally invited. 

In this context, another debate has emerged: was extending an invite to Traub the right decision? 

“The decision to allow the Peoples Party of Canada to participate was made by the independent and impartial Leaders’ Debate Commission, led by the former UW President and former Governor-General, Commissioner David Johnston,” Chagger said. “I understand that Bernier’s party satisfies the criteria necessary to allow him to participate in these debates. I respect the process.”

The PPC opposes multiculturalism and is anti-refugee and are polling at 3 per cent nationally.

“A People’s Party government will repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding to promote multiculturalism,” the PPC website states. 

“Those who know me on campus will know that I have spoken out against hate speech on campus. Hate speech is proscribed in Canada by the Criminal Code, and in three provinces, by human rights acts. Ontario is not one of them,” Campbell said.  

Campbell elaborated her party’s position. “I believe, as does the leader of the federal NDP, Jagmeet Singh, that it is wrong to give people a platform to spread hateful messages.

I have heard from many members of the Waterloo community that they are deeply concerned about the climate crisis and I am grateful for the amazing work that local, national, and international organizations are doing to promote urgent non-partisan conversations about the climate crisis.”

The PPC denies climate change, advocating against subsidies on green technology. They want to let private companies take charge to develop models that ensure profitability. 

Citizens from all over the country, as well as other parties have challenged the PPC’s platform.

The organizers of  100 Debates on the Environment are holding 100 “non-partisan” all-candidates debates across the country before the next election. 

“To set up the fairest system possible, our government set up the Leaders’ Debate Commission. These decisions are now free from partisan interference,” Chagger said.

Despite that, candidates were informed of the questions well in advance and the politicians themselves will vet these questions.

They will not be questioned on their own stance on climate change. 

Both Jerry Zhang and Kirsten Wright did not respond to requests for comment.