On Thursday night, a group of local candidates gathered in Toronto for this election's first LGBT-centred debate.
The participants came from several Toronto ridings, though the questions focused on national issues.
The parties were invited to choose their representatives and the participants were:
- Bill Morneau, Liberal candidate for Toronto Centre
- Chris Tolley, Green candidate for Toronto-Danforth
- Craig Scott, NDP candidate for Toronto-Danforth
The Conservatives — who did not send a candidate — were represented by an empty chair and a forlorn water bottle.
Got anything to say about Bill C279, little guy?
At one point, debate moderator Brenda Cossman asked the candidates to kindly not engage in a "Clint Eastwood-style" debate with the empty chair.
The candidates took questions from both the debate organizers and the audience on topics including the death of C279 — (a transgender rights bill), LGBT refugees, blood donation and protection for sex workers.
The absence of a Tory candidate seems par for the course this election. According to a Star report, the party has told candidates to avoid debates and media requests. Party members, however, have said that is not the case.
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
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