Politics and commerce collide at debate

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By Lauren Strapagiel

Ask Canada’s major political parties to a debate, and there’s bound to be some verbal punches.

“I sometimes wonder if we’re all living in the same country,” said Kevin Moore, Conservative candidate for Toronto Centre.

“I would like to have confidence in this government, but we don’t,” said John McKay later, MP for Scarborough-Guildwood in his closing statements.

The Oct. 14 debate was held by the Ryerson Commerce and Politics Assocation (RCPA). Members from the Conservative, Liberal, Green and New Democratic Party (NDP) were invited to attend and debate the economy. Topics for the night included Canada’s bailout package as well as assessing the current government’s response to the recession.

The RCPA are the news kids on campus, having only started the group over the summer.

“I noticed that business students don’t really care about politics — in that they don’t really understand,” said RCPA president Valavan Kugathasan, a second-year business management student specializing in law and business.

The RCPA was born as a way for business students to learn more about how politics and business interact. For the group’s first event, Kugathasan is pleased with how it turned out.

“It went well in the sense that we had a heated debate,” Kugathasan said, adding that he was happy all four major political parties were included.

Moore, whose daughter is a fourth-year Ryerson psychology student, started the evening’s debate with a reminder that the United States has been hit by the economic decline far harder than Canada. “That does not mean that we are immune and that we haven’t been and are not effected by this recession,” said Moore. He said that Canada had to follow the United States into bailout territory to protect Canadian jobs.

“There is no economic justification for that bailout,” rebutted Ard Van Leeuwen, Green candidate for Dufferin-Caledon.

McKay pointed to the bailouts as creating “a culture of rewarding failure.”

Andrew Cash, NDP candidate for Davenport, asked “Are we consumers or are we citizens?”

The politicians hope the students in attendance took something away from the event.

“I hope they get a sense that you have to ask questions and you really have to demand answers,” said Erich Jacoby-Hawkin, Green candidate for Barrie.

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