Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 23, 2006
Candidates speak out at forum
Audience hears delegates address values, moral issues
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholics in the Edmonton area were given a crack at making a conscientious decision on whom to support in the Jan. 23 federal election as candidates for four major parties explained their positions at St. Joseph's Basilica Jan. 17.
Candidates Brad Enge, Liberal; Laurie Hawn, Progressive Conservative; Donna Martyn, NDP, and David Parker, Green, were on hand to make statements and answer questions from the audience.
The CWL's Bizarre Women's Group organized the event with moral theologian Rebecca Davis-Matthias giving an introductory presentation on the main issues: Life, Family and Freedom of Expression. About 120 people attended.
"We are at the verge of deciding who will be the next leaders," she said. "I can't express enough how critical your vote, your involvement will be."
In her presentation, Davis-Matthias said the forum more than anything would help participants discern what kind of values candidates have, the key in deciding whom to support.
Exercise your faith
"When you actually make choices in selecting your political candidates, you are exercising your faith," she told the audience. "I hope that you come away with that awareness. You see, our faith upholds certain values."
Hawn, Conservative candidate in Edmonton Centre, said the biggest issue for a lot of Canadians is health care. "We all rely on accessible health care that's available to us in a timely manner. That's what we intend to provide. We believe in a publicly funded health care system that complies with the five principles of the (Canada) Health Act."
Hawn said he is asked about same sex marriage at least 10 times a day. "I believe in the traditional definition of marriage, period."
Parker, also running in Edmonton Centre, didn't give specific answers to all the questions but made clear the Green Party stands for a strong environment, equal opportunities for everyone and against war.
Abortion, Parker said, is a matter of personal choice as is euthanasia and assisted suicide.
"Is keeping people alive as vegetables ethical, is that right? Personally I don't think so."
Enge, the Liberal candidate for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, said he is Roman Catholic and supports most of ethical values espoused by the Church.
"I believe in people, family and fairness and everyone's right to become the best that they can possibly be," he said at the forum. "I believe strongly in safe communities. I also believe that our seniors, women and children - the most vulnerable people in our society - have a right to walk freely and without fear of harm."
Martyn, a teacher who is also running in Edmonton Centre, said the NDP stands for meeting the basic needs of every individual in society.
"We do believe in providing the things people need to subsist including public heath care paid for publicly, public education funded publicly and delivered by public means.
"We believe in clean air, clean water, clean land and soil in order for people to subsist and have a good, strong environment to work in."
Martyn also described euthanasia and assisted suicide as personal choices, saying the state has no right to interfere with personal choice. She also said the NDP would provide more funding for stem cell research.
Asked about abortion Hawn said, "I don't like abortion; however I would not forcibly take away a woman's right to choose. It's a very personal situation that a woman is in and I am not God and I am not going to judge her on that," he said to applause from the audience.