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Members said Layton best addressed key issues affecting CUPE members, including health care, child care, education, and privatization. On health care and child care, in particular, members thought Layton was the strongest candidate.

Many said the overall issue of privatization was not adequately addressed by the candidates, and municipal services and infrastructure was notably absent in all leaders’ responses.

It’s not surprising that people’s trust in politicians is falling, especially after the Liberal sponsorship scandal, so it’s refreshing to hear that Layton struck the chord he did.

Here’s what CUPE members had to say about the debate:

Dan Hingley, HEU health care worker, Nanaimo, B.C.

I like that Layton pointed out that there was too much privatization, that there needs to be more cash to train doctors, and that we need public long-term [care] and home care. But Layton didn’t say enough about public delivery of health care. Harper made me sick and he was deceptive to simply say that health care is a provincial matter.”

Lisa Stewart, CUPE Local 3845, Halifax, N.S., child care worker, member of National Child Care Working Group.

One leader who spoke the most about the people and for the people was Jack Layton, in each question he talked the most about our issues. Paul Martin also spoke a lot about our issues as well, but he seems to be trying to keep the corporate interests happy as well as the social interests. Layton remained focused on what needs to be done as opposed to what has already been done. He by far is the one candidate who took the lead on public services, and identified all of the key issues which would concern union members of CUPE.”

Carla Smith, President, CUPE Local 974, community clinic worker, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

I heard none of the parties speak on issues that are of importance to women. I will say that Mr. Layton did say that we need to get more women in politics. Nothing was said about pay equity. They spoke on a few issues that are important to women such as child care, health care but not directly about issues.”

Jacqueline Zilkie, HEU, Kaslo, B.C.

I thought that Jack Layton covered so many concerns of the working people. The NDP support the prevention of the growth of privatization. Jack Layton also spoke about the need for long-term care and home care programs and decreasing the price of pharmaceuticals. I believe that Jack Layton had the best things to say about health care. I would have liked more debate on the privatization in health care.”

Sheryl Burns, Vice-President, CUPE Local 1936, community social service worker, Vancouver, B.C.

Jack Layton is the leader who most adequately addressed the issue of a public child care system. Martin danced around the issue of child care without addressing the affordability, availability, and public ownership of child care services. Harper’s response was easily the most disturbing and if implemented could push back the clock for women.”