Following the All Candidates Open Forum held in Killaloe on October 5, an event marked by the absence of the incumbent candidate, Cheryl Gallant, (Click HERE to read) another candidates’ meeting to be held in Cobden October 9 organized by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) will have at least two empty seats at the table. (Liberal candidate Ruben Marini announced last week he would attend the Westmeath candidates meeting instead.) Independent candidate Dan Criger (speaking above) announced today that he also would not attend and the reasons for his refusal concern Gallant.
Criger has distributed the following statement:
The OFA has said they will not allow candidates to “comment” on Cheryl Gallant during the event, or question her motives. All across this riding I have talked to thousands of people, and the clear majority of them have given me unsolicited “comments” on Ms. Gallant. Of course the OFA is “allowed” to silence people during their event; I don’t dispute this. But just because somebody is “allowed” to do something, doesn’t mean they should do it. What if a question from the audience asks the candidates what they think of the past 20 years of representation in this riding? Will the candidates be obliged only to praise Ms Gallant? Or will the question be disallowed and the questioner silenced? I will not enable this.
When I go to Ottawa I will not only allow your voice to be heard, I will make sure that it is heard. If a person or organization deserves criticism, you can count on me to surely deliver that criticism. I have much criticism about Ms. Gallant, the policies of the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Green Party and the NDP. I believe in accountability, and I will not be silenced.
I will not spend 20 years on the back benches embarrassing this riding. I will fight for you, your family and this riding so that we all have a strong and stable future.
(On October 9 I will be at the Westmeath Community Centre from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with other candidates for an All Candidates Meeting)
The OFA has said,
“The Federation will not allow comments … against Ms. Gallant or our organization at the candidates night.”
“I do not believe that it is right to bring it up in a public meeting what her motives were…”
“… comments from one candidate about another candidate will not be allowed or will attacking one political party over another be allowed.”
Dan Criger, Independent candidate, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke
Criger,D. (2019,Oct.7) Why I am not attending the All Candidates Night put on by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture on October 9 [media release]