Television debate left many uninspired, unchanged in opinion

After four-leader discussion, B.C. Election day only two weeks away

Monday’s television debate between B.C.’s party leaders didn’t solve much for local voters, if they watched it at all.

A Maple Ridge street survey the morning after showed only about a quarter of those asked actually watched the 90-minute contest involving Liberal leader Christy Clark, the NDP’s Adrian Dix, Green party leader Jane Sterk and B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins.

“I think it was a real joke,” said Ollie Sauer.

The discussion didn’t inform about the Northern Gateway oil pipeline or education or taxes, he pointed out. “All those questions that I thought would be answered, but never were.”

The debate was “nothing spectacular – but I’m still voting for Christy Clark,” added Menna Osygus.

The debate began with Clark apologizing for and explaining that when she went through a red light recently, she had done so after stopping, treating the corner as a four-way stop sign intersection.

“She didn’t blow through a red light,” and Clark knew it was wrong, Osygus said.

But many issues weren’t discussed, such as education and health care.

“I’d just like to know how Dix is going to pay for everything that he’s promising.”

Juan Mon, from Argentina, was visiting B.C. to see family, and said Canada used to pay more attention to social programs. “I think the Free Trade Agreement [with the U.S.] changed everything in this country.”

Political leaders have less power and it’s now corporations that make the important decisions. “Neo-Liberalism has changed the whole issues all over the world.”

Henry Carr, a retired plumber, said the debate didn’t help him make up his mind.

“I still haven’t decided. I don’t think there was any real winner last night. I think it would be a miracle if Christy Clark wins.”

He added he doesn’t particularly like the NDP’s policies, but says it’s a given that Dix will win the election.

But Carr said if Dix opposes all pipeline projects, he’d alienate many, adding that he favours pipeline construction in B.C., if it’s done properly, because of the jobs created.

Ida Toth, though, wasn’t impressed with the current premier seeking re-election.

“I think that Christy Clark should go somewhere else and not even try to win anything,” Toth said. “She slams the other parties too much and I don’t like that at all.”

The debate didn’t discuss seniors’ issues or health care, “instead of gouging seniors every which way.”

A News1130/Insights West online poll found more than two-thirds of B.C. residents watched at least some of the debate.

Thirty-one per cent said Dix won it, 28 per cent said Clark was the winner, 13 per cent picked B.C. Green party leader Jane Sterk, while three per cent chose B.C.

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