On 15 May 2018, Marc Garneau CI hosted a debate for the candidates running for Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) of the Don Valley East riding. It was held in the cafeteria during Period 5, and teachers were encouraged to register their classes to attend the debate. About seventy-five students attended.

To start off the debate, each candidate was given thirty seconds to present an opening statement introducing their respective platforms. Mark Wong, representing the Ontario Green Party, did not elaborate on his promises of basic income and the most balanced platform. The Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) was represented by Khalid Ahmed, who emphasized his diverse party base and his party’s desire to bring change to the community. Michael Coteau, the current MPP from the Liberal Party, discussed his previous role as a school board trustee. Unfortunately, the candidate for the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) party, Denzil Minnan-Wong, was unable to attend the event.  

A student attends the debate. Image: Matthew Tse.

Following the opening statements, a series of questions related to high school students, including help with paying for postsecondary education and mark inflation, were asked. Each candidate then had one minute and thirty seconds to provide a reply.

After each question, the candidates were given ten minute periods to ask other candidates various questions and to debate. To close up the debate, each candidate had one minute for a concluding speech. Members from all parties emphasized the need for citizens to get involved and show support for a political party.

The event was informative to many students, introducing them to politics and inspiring them to get involved. One of the audience members said, “I liked how each candidate could talk about their ideas freely and also compare with their competitors. I believe that some improvements could be made, such as adding more time for candidates to speak the length they wanted to.”

Garneau student John Le, the organizer of the debate, commented on the debate’s success, despite there being no Conservative candidate: “I think students really enjoyed the debate and it was very informative to me as well. We had some bumps along the way, but we managed to pass through, getting opinions and debates around the topics concerning students. ”

The Ontario Provincial Election will take place on 8 June 2018.