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All candidates present and accounted for at local forum

The federal election is little over a week away, and Thursday evening all Grande Prairie-Mackenzie candidates were all in one place at the Douglas J Cardinal Theatre to take part in the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s All Candidates Forum.

During the debate NDP candidate Saba Mossagizi was asked to speak about her party’s plans to ease the cost of post-secondary education in Canada.

“We want to help young people make a little bit more through a federal minimum so that should you be working part time to try to pay off student loans, that you’ll be able to at least meet the poverty level.”

PC candidate Chris Warkentin also weighed in on his party’s plans to ease the burden of paying tuition.

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“We’ve changed the way in which Peace Country kids can get student loans now. They’re no longer going to be tested as fit or not fit if their parents are so called ‘wealthy’ because they’re farmers. They are going to be able to get it like every other kid everywhere else in the country.”

Warkentin was also asked to speak about his party’s policy on exploring alternative energy opportunities.

“I am convinced that there is no complete replacement to oil and gas. One of the things we strongly believe is moving toward efficient use of the fuels that we do use.”

The Green Party’s James Friesen also spoke briefly to his party’s alternative energy policy.

“We would put money into small business to build solar panels, to build necessary things. I think that creating jobs and moving toward alternative energy are totally inseparable .”

Dylan Thompson was asked about the Libertarian Party’s plans to improve the movement of goods from land-locked Alberta to tide water, in order for them to reach international markets.

“The Libertarian Party would eliminate custom duties and import taxes, and lower regulations, and I think both of those things would move us toward more of a free market which would help the flow of goods.”

Liberal candidate Reagan Johnston commented on the need for a more effective service agreement between farmers and rail companies, as well as his party’s concern for the new Trans Pacific Partnership.

“We as the Liberal Party want to look at that and actually have the people’s voices heard, we want to debate it in the House of Commons and make sure that it is right for all Canadians and it’s not just benefiting the few and pigeonholing the rest.”

The entire event started at 6:30 with opening statements and wrapped up roughly two hours later. Questions regarding subjects like Bill C-51, Canada’s status as a peacekeeping nation, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples were asked of the candidates.

Canadians head to the polls on October 19.

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