The candidates debated issues such as immigration, mental health and climate change on Sept. 24. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

The St. Thomas University Student Union hosted a Fredericton riding candidates debate in advance of the Canadian Oct. 21 federal election.

Participants of the debate included People’s Party of Canada candidate Jason Paull, Liberal Party of Canada candidate Matt DeCourcey, Green Party of Canada candidate Jenica Atwin and Libertarian Party of Canada candidate Brandon Kirby. Conservative Party of Canada candidate Andrea Johnston had confirmed prior to the event she would attend, but was unable to attend.

The candidates and their debate focuses:

Jenica Atwin

Atwin previously ran for the New Brunswick provincial election for the New Maryland-Sunbury riding. If she wins the Fredericton seat, she will be New Brunswick’s first Green Member of Parliament.

Jenica Atwin, Green Party candidate, said the Green Party fully supports free tuition. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Here are her summarized debate points:

  • She said mental health is the biggest problem facing the Fredericton constituency. She said we need more healthcare funding, particularly for the mental health sector.
  • She said the Green Party fully supports free tuition as well as raising the minimum wage to help students.
  • She said access to post-secondary education for Indigenous Peoples is a “multifaceted issue” and wants to see a more supportive environment for Indigenous students.
  • She said she supports immigration and wants to speed up the reunification of immigrant families.
  • She believes in the Green Party’s climate plan, which would cancel proposed pipeline projects and transition Canada’s energy infrastructure to a carbon-free grid system.

Matt DeCourcey

DeCourcey is Fredericton’s incumbent member of Parliament, this is his second federal campaign. He’s a St. Thomas University graduate.

Matt DeCourcey, Liberal Party candidate, said he wants to increase immigration to Canada. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Here are his summarized debate points:

  • He said the biggest issue facing New Brunswickers and all of Atlantic Canada is population growth.
  • He believes everyone should have access to post-secondary education but that universal free tuition would mean funding the education of the wealthy. He said he doesn’t want to see that happen.
  • He spoke on Indigenous reconciliation when asked about education for Indigenous students. He said it is because of the Liberal Party that Indigenous peoples have the opportunities they do today.
  • He said he wants to increase immigration to Canada.

Brandon Kirby

Kirby has a philosophy degree from the University of New Brunswick as well as a financial background. He works for a Cayman Island hedge fund service firm, owns Brandon Kirby Mortgage Lending, and has been in the financial industry since 2004. His political history is unclear.

Brandon Kirby, candidate for the Libertarian Party of Canada, said Canada can’t afford free tuition. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Here are his summarized debate points:

  • He said the number one issue facing the Fredericton constituency is debt.
  • He spoke about how important it is to end connections between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
  • He thinks free tuition is a great thought but Canada can’t afford it.
  • He believes Canada is not respecting its contracts with Indigenous Peoples. He believes that they should receive a fixed livable income.
  • He said the immigration system needs work and it discriminates against people.
  • He said he wants auto loans geared towards purchasing electric vehicles and believes in consumer-based policies to battle climate change.

Jason Paull

Paull ran for the Fredericton West-Hanwell seat as a People’s Alliance of New Brunswick candidate in last fall’s provincial election. This is Paull’s first federal campaign.

Jason Paull, People’s Party of Canada candidate, said he wants to see immigration cut by about half. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Here are his summarized debate points:

  • He said seniors are the most important issue for the constituency of Fredericton and plans to address that by looking at universal healthcare and more support for seniors. He wants to look into having both public and private sector healthcare.
  • He said he wants to see immigration into Canada cut by about half while also raising the percentage of economic immigrants arriving in Canada.
  • He said he wants to make education more affordable, possibly with interest-free student loans and affordable housing for students.
  • He said it’s important to give Indigenous students access to education and to ensure the funding is there to do so. He wants to work on improving the environments Indigenous Peoples live in.
  • He believes pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and that Canada should be using their own oil. He said pipelines create jobs.

The debate: