PC candidates have reportedly skipped debates in at least 23 ridings so far.
This is starting to look like a pattern…
Since Ontario’s election officially got underway last week, local ridings and organizations have been hosting debates designed to let candidates speak to the issues and introduce themselves to the public.
But it seems like plenty of Ontario Progressive Conservative candidates are opting to skip them.
Just over a week into the campaign, an analysis conducted by PressProgress has identified at least 23 ridings in which aspiring PC members of provincial parliament have reportedly been no-shows at local debates – some of them on more than one occasion.
— Warren Grafton (@warrengrafton) May 10, 2018
(By comparison, only a handful of candidates from the other major parties appear to have been absent at any debates.)
Let’s look at a few examples.
Don Valley North
At the Don Valley North “All” Candidates Meeting hosted by the Bayview Village Association @BVAssociation. Unfortunate the PC candidate couldn’t make it tonight.
— Dan Fox (@DanFoxTO) May 14, 2018
Disappointed that all of the #ScarboroughSouthwest Candidates could not be at the @ScarboroughCAN all-candidates Town hall. #PCPO candidate @GaryEllisPC is a no-show. #onpoli #ScarbTO #SSW pic.twitter.com/GZYb4exr0i
— John Beers 🦇 (@jbbatcave) May 15, 2018
— Peter Milczyn (@PeterMilczyn) May 17, 2018
Another @ontariopcparty candidate fails to show up at all-candidates’ debate tonight – this time in #etobicokelakeshore. #etobicoke @OntLiberal and @OntarioNDP candidates coy on forming coalition if #DougFord forms minority.https://t.co/luhbC3NRMw pic.twitter.com/1MNevmCiB2
— toronto.com (@torontodotcom) May 16, 2018
— Justin Tetreault (@justintetreault) May 16, 2018
#KitchenerCentre PC candidate plays hide & seek, while others in the race discuss transit, opioid addiction, & social housing. #DougFord‘s fear of openness with voters sets a lousy example other Conservative candidates adopt. #Onelxn #OntarioVotes #OnPoli https://t.co/qXR6WYaYv1
— Penny Gill (@PennyGill3) May 15, 2018
No sign of the Progressive Conservative at East York candidates’ meeting https://t.co/h6cpr63y8i
— David Nickle (@DavidNickle) May 16, 2018
— Craig MacBride (@CraigMacBride) May 15, 2018
PC candidate @vijaythani a no-show tonight. How can residents of Scarborough Rouge Park make an informed choice on election day? #ScarbVotes2018 #ScarbTO #onpoli https://t.co/hUkkXKYyTp https://t.co/hUkkXKYyTp
— ScarboroughCAN (@ScarboroughCAN) May 15, 2018
— Pat Naughton (@oboondocks) May 15, 2018
— Medhat Ramsees (@mramsees) May 15, 2018
PC candidate Colleen McCleery has withdrawn from the Ottawa-Centre All Candidates debate tonight at the Glebe Community Centre @ 7pm.
@CBCOttawa @OttawaMorning @cbcallinaday @ctvottawa @CentretownNews @centretownbuzz @drakefenton @OttawaCitizen @ottawasuncom @davidreevely
— Shawn Barber (@ShawnGBarber) May 17, 2018
And the list goes on.
In at least 13 other ridings, PC candidates have withdrawn from, or been reported missing in action at, debates and all-candidates meetings.
During the 2015 federal election campaign, Conservative candidates were instructed to avoid debates and the media.
While it’s unclear if there’s a similar strategy at play here, the sheer number of empty lecterns labelled “PC” at local debates has many people asking questions.
And given Doug Ford’s own cageyness about his promises and refusals to take questions from journalists, the emerging pattern seems clear – and the questions are likely to grow louder.
The Ford campaign’s decision to exclude journalists from this afternoon’s photo-op may be linked to the Liberal release today that highlighted more Islamophobic, racist and sexist remarks from London West PC candidate Andrew Lawton. Easier to avoid questions sans journos. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/nbuDrjUBaI
— Chris Reynolds (@ChrisAReynolds) May 16, 2018
Annual cost of PC leader Doug Ford’s big-ticket promises so far:
$2.3B income tax cut for those earning $46,000+
$1.9B to end cap and-trade
$1.3B corporate tax cut
$850M tax credit for minimum wage workers
$800M cutting hydro bills
Analysis by @jchianellohttps://t.co/6qZoq7GnPw
— Mike Crawley (@CBCQueensPark) May 11, 2018