The Conservative candidate for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl put his potential political career on the line over his party’s promise on the Lower Churchill hydroelectric development.
At a candidates’ debate for the riding, hosted by the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce Tuesday evening, Loyola Sullivan said he’s so confident in Stephen Harper’s promise of a loan guarantee for the mega project, that he’ll step down if elected and if the party doesn’t keep its promise.
“If not, I will resign,” said Sullivan to cheers from supporters.
“I ask (Liberal incumbent Siobhan) Coady, will she put her job on the line on the Lower Churchill?”
NDP candidate Ryan Cleary shot back.
“Loyola Sullivan is not going to get an opportunity to resign, because he’s not going to get in,” Cleary said to laughs and applause.
Sullivan said neither of the other parties have put a loan guarantee for the project in writing.
“A vote for the Liberals or the NDP is a vote against the Lower Churchill,” he said, but this time the cheers were drowned out by boos.
Coady suggested the Liberal caucus has had the Lower Churchill on its radar for some time.
“We’ve been talking about the Lower Churchill for several months Mr. Sullivan,” she said. “If the Conservative’s were serious, they would have put it in their budget.”
Both Coady and Cleary also said Harper cannot be trusted to deliver on promises to this province, as he’s broken them before.
“We know his word is not his bond,” said Coady.
Cleary, meanwhile, used his time to tout a national energy policy which he suggested would throw open the door to Quebec’s transmission grid to Labrador power, making it cheaper to get to market.
In addition to the question on the Lower Churchill, candidates took questions on health care and the fishery before taking others from the audience, in what was a spirited debate, with partisan jabs coming from all candidates.
Sullivan blasted former Liberal governments for downloading costs of health care unto the provinces, to which Coady retorted that former Liberal governments had no choice but to do that considering the financial mess left by a former Conservative government.
“Loyola Sullivan is not going to get an opportunity to resign, because he’s not going to get in." - Ryan Cleary
Candidates team up on Conservative over fishery issues … Continued from page A1
Coady suggested the country is experiencing some deja vu.
“The Harper government is the biggest spending, biggest borrowing, most (in)debted government we’ve ever had and now we’re going to have to clean up that mess,” said Coady.
Cleary, meanwhile, discussed the need for a national pharmacare plan, reducing wait times for medical tests and surgeries and help for families and seniors.
“No party is more committed to health care than the New Democrats,” he said.
Sullivan also raised the spectre of a potential coalition government made up of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois, as Harper has done at every opportunity during the campaign.
He said the Conservatives is the only party which can form a majority after May 2.
But Coady shot back that her leader Michael Ignatieff has stated unequivocally he will not form such a coalition.
While debating fisheries issues, both Coady and Cleary attacked Sullivan’s record as the country’s former fisheries ambassador, most notable that he was unable to prevent a seal product ban put in place by the European Union. Sullivan shot back that the other parties failed to support updates to the fisheries act.
The questions from the audience were on such diverse topics as the needs of children, an elected senate and the gun registry.
Sullivan challenged the other parties to admit they support the controversial registry.
“When I hear the head of the police chiefs of Canada (say) that he believes in the long gun registry because it saves lives ... I take his word for that,” said Cleary, who seemed to tread lightly around the issue.
But Coady was unapologetic for supporting the registry for the same reason Cleary cited.
“There’s nothing wrong with registering (firearms),” she said and then added to applause. “Go register your gun, it’s not that difficult.”