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Candidates Square Off at CASS

Hot topics from the provincial debate today included mental health, medical cuts, environment and post secondary tuition.

OXFORD COUNTY - Provincial candidates debated in front of a different crowd for their most recent debate.

Today, students of College Avenue Secondary School got a unique opportunity to witness politics first hand.

Six provincial candidates debated a variety of topics that impact our community.

Tim Hodges, MPP candidate for the Freedom Party explained that he would not support environmental protection.

"A Freedom government will end the fight on climate change. We understand there's no magic weather machine that controls the climate. We don't believe in a tax increase just because the current weather situation doesn't suit a politician's liking."

While the candidate representing the Liberal Party, James Howard stated that his party has a different ideal.

"The Liberals saw that climate change is a real thing because we are all living through it right now. The extreme highs and lows in temperatures and storms and floods that are impacting many family's today is demonstratively back the evidence for climate change"

The debate topic then swapped to tuition costs, something that would affect the students in the near future. The Green Party's Al de Jong told the students that his party plans to work on tuition.

"When we get in power, when we share power, we hope to work with other parties and to promote the best of what is available, not to fight with other parties in sort of a competitive way."

Tara King, representative of the NDP party says her party has a tuition plan to help students, and she was excited about it.

"Every student that qualifies for OSAP will get a non-repayable grant instead of a loan. That's huge for you guys. Did you hear me? Every student that qualifies for OSAP will get a non-repayable grant instead of a loan."

Mental health was the final topic of the debate, and for Robert VanRyswyck, it was a topic that hit him personally.

"Of course my high school wasn't spared from this, and I lost my friend. I get how much that can damage not just his immediate friends and family and teammates, but everyone at the school. I recognize that high school might just be the toughest four years of your life."

Ernie Hardeman, current MPP and Progressive Conservative representative also had some strong words on the subject.

"Mental health is a fundamental part of health care and it has to be integrated as part of our health care system. When we had tragedy here, one of the challenges was getting all parts of the system to communicate, the schools, the mental health organizations and the hospital."

Following the debate, the students participated in a mock election and those eligible to vote in the upcoming provincial election had the opportunity to register.

CASS students had the opportunity to vote for their favourite candidate after the debate.

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