NEWS

Voters disappointed by debate no-shows

09/13/2011 02:15 EDT | Updated 11/13/2011 05:12 EST

An all-candidates debate expecting high-profile faces yielded a mere pair of hopefuls for the upcoming Ontario provincial election.

The debate, hosted by the Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group, attracted only Liberal Madeleine Meilleur and NDP Anil Naidoo.

But the two candidates are not even going head-to-head in the Oct. 6 provincial election. Meilleur is the incumbent in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier and Naidoo is hoping to steal the seat in Ottawa-Centre from Meilleur's Liberal counterpart Yasir Naqvi.

No Progressive Conservative candidate appeared before the disappointed crowd.

The event held at Ottawa City Hall was advertised as an arena for known names such as Randall Denley, Jack MacLaren and Bob Chiarelli.

But the head organizer, who said he invited four candidates from each party three months ago, admitted the debate was almost cancelled at the last minute after no PC or Liberals agreed to attend.

Meilleur confirmed she would show only hours before the debate.

'Second-rate debate'

Of those residents who were eager to see those names duke it out, many left only 30 minutes into the planned three and a half hour exhange.

"I was hoping to see the big debate between Randall Denley and Bob Chiarelli," said Charles Akben-Marchand, "Both of the candidates who are here didn't have the most preparation and they didn't get what they expected out of it.

"It's really showing up as a second-rate debate."

"We were expecting something a little more lively," said Walter Zacharchuk, "Actually, a real debate between civil candidates instead of just having two people talk to each other."

Organizers blamed scheduling and miscommunication.

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