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Live Streaming At Debates

(submitted) Tara King

Oxford's NDP candidate did not participate in last night's debate; in order to protest a ban on live streaming.

NORWICH - Oxford's NDP candidate was noticeably absent at last night's debate in Norwich.

Tara King decided to spend her evening going door to door talking to the locals; after her request to live stream it was denied by the Norwich Chamber of Commerce.

"I won't be attending any debates that are not able to be live streamed because I think it's categorically wrong to ration or restrict access to information; especially in politics."

King broadcasted the Cowan Park debate a couple of weeks ago, with over a thousand viewers from Oxford County and beyond.

"Some of our voters reached out to us saying they could not attend for a number of reasons. Child care being one of them, accessibility being another, and farmers and with the nice weather they're out spraying the fields."

Green party candidate Al deJong was also unable to attend last night's debate. He is completely for live streaming for the public.

"It's just not possible to accommodate everybody in a lot of venues and people can't be there; streaming I think it's wonderful and the way to go."

When asked for his thoughts; Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman says we have to respect the host's wishes.

"I have absolutely no objection to live streaming at all the public debates but I think it's important that the organizers of the debate are the people who decide how they want the format of the debate to run. I think it's important that we keep in mind that whatever they do for their debate is in the best interest of their audience and they have the right to make that decision."

Libertarian candidate Chris Swift echoed these thoughts.

"I think if we can get all of our information out there it only benefits everyone, especially the electorate. But the other thing to consider is if organizers of an event ask for nobody to be recording the event, videotaping or posting pictures from the event we have to respect that because we as candidates are guests at their event and it's their prerogative at the end of the day."

Robert VanRyswyck of the Ontario Party agrees with the importance of broadcasting online, but doesn't believe King made the right decision to miss the debate.

"I think that even though it's not going to be live streamed there's still people there who want to hear answers and it's our job as candidates to provide it. We're supposed to be representing the public and how can we do that if we're not willing to be in the public eye."

The Freedom Party's Tim Hodges also didn't agree with King's course of action.

"It's a nice bonus to live stream it but I wouldn't go so far as missing the debate. If the turnout at the last Norwich debate was a good gage there should be 100 people there and I think she is just ducking the answers the people in that area are asking for."

Liberal Campaign Manager Michael Commisso spoke with Heart FM on behalf of Liberal candidate James Howard. He says his party is all for broadcasting online and wants to win the election fair and square.

"We're okay with live streaming; we have no problems against it. This is new for both of us; this is a procedure and we don't really know what's right or wrong in any ethical or moral capacity. All we know is we are here to run good and fair campaign and we want to win."

Independent MPP Candidate Dave Sikal gave his input on the situation.

"Well number one I think the organizers have the right to have the forum that they want. Our job is to show up and to state our case. Now whether the medium is live streaming or film, or radio or recording or whatever; that should be irrelevant to the cause right here."

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