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Which party leader will work hardest to protect the day-to-day needs of the ordinary Canadian working family? Tune in to the election debates and decide for yourself.

The televised debates are on tonight and tomorrow night, live from Montreal. Tonight, Mon., Jan. 9, is the English debate, and tomorrow, Tues., Jan. 10, is the French debate. Both start at 8 p.m. EST.

Both debates will be an excellent opportunity for CUPE members to decide which candidate will stand for accountability, strengthened public services and improved working conditions.

As you watch or listen to the debates, keep some of these key questions in mind:

  • Which leader is most responsive to working people’s concerns, like protecting pensions and making sure jobs are full-time, have decent pay and benefits?
  • Which leader will defend and strengthen your public services?
  • Did the candidates take up CUPE’s and your issues as working Canadians?
  • Was the privatization of our health care adequately addressed?
  • Which leader had the best things to say on our health care system?
  • Do you think child care got proper treatment?
  • Which leader impressed you the most overall?

Background information and questions for the critical debate watcher:

Health Care

Privatization is threatening our health care system. Years of privatization have lead to the growth of for-profit clinics and long-term care facilities. Health care needs expansion to cover a national pharmacare program, long-term care and home care.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on public health care?

Cities and Towns

Public services and the infrastructure of our cities and towns have been talked about during the election. Roads, sewers, waste, water treatment and public transit are all part of infrastructures. Some candidates have discussed municipal infrastructure and local municipal services; services that make our communities strong, healthy and sustainable.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on public municipal infrastructure and local municipal services?


Because a majority of CUPE members are women, our union takes a special interest in advancing women’s equality, health and economic well-being. Some candidates have largely ignored women’s issues. Among other things, women want a government that supports the expansion of public services to end poverty for women and families.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on issues of importance to women?


Canadians need public and accountable child care that is regulated, affordable, accessible and not-for-profit.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on a public child care system?

Other issues to look for:


We know that private public partnerships (P3s) are bad for public services. This form of privatization reduces or eliminates public services, does away with good jobs from the economy and guarantees tax dollars are converted to private profits.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on privatization?
Q. Did the candidates support strengthening public services and institutions or privatization?

Jobs and pensions

Good full-time jobs with decent pay and benefits, pensions and working conditions are major concerns of working Canadians. But increasingly, the new jobs that are created are not full-time and don’t have full benefits. Pensions are under attack from all sides.

Q. Did the candidates say the right things on creating better jobs and working conditions?
Q. Did the candidates commit to protecting pensions from being clawed back or raided when companies go bankrupt?

Budget surpluses

Canadians need improvements to social programs. The Liberals have amassed large budget surpluses. Some candidates have promised some form of tax cuts and others have advocated investing in public services and social programs.

Q. Did the candidates say the right thing on how the surpluses should be spent?