Scarborough-Agincourt voters keep their eye on the economy

With many Canadians’ eyes aimed squarely at Bay Street, there was little doubt the key issue in the upcoming Canadian federal election would be the economy.

Such was the case on Friday evening during the all-candidates’ debate in the Scarborough-Agincourt riding. The debate, held at Knox United Church at 2575 Midland Ave., touched on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the recruitment of new nurses for the riding.

But from the first question to the closing statements, the talk never strayed far from the economy.

Dr. Benson Lau, the Conservative Party’s nominee in the riding, was the first to respond to a question about what he would do for the economy if elected.

“People work hard for their money and the other parties want to take it away,” he said. “What we don’t need is a carbon tax to increase costs (on essential goods).”

Liberal incumbent Jim Karygiannis responded by insisting that his party’s platform includes tax cuts that would offset the cost of the Liberals’ carbon tax.

Green Party nominee Adrian Molder went a step further, saying that the Liberals’ plan wouldn’t tax carbon emissions enough.

“The Liberals’ tax will be $10 per tonne (of carbon emitted),” he said. “The Green Party (proposes a tax of) $50 per tonne.”

After the debate, some of the talk focused specifically on the riding itself. Karygiannis commented on what he would do to ease the effects of the recent economic downturn on his constituency.

“One of the things I would like to do right after the election…is to call in place all the key components (of the local economy),” he said. “I’d say, ‘Yes, there’s going to be a national plan of how to ensure that we avoid the (slump in the) economy, but what can we do locally?'”

Simon Dougherty, the NDP’s nominee, had a different idea for how to improve his community.

“With the approximately $50 billion that we’d save (by not giving corporate tax cuts), we’d want to reinvest that in the community,” he said. “You have to keep life more affordable.”