North Bay city councillor Mark King shook hands with fellow councillors and Mayor Al McDonald following Tuesday night’s council meeting as he takes a leave of absence to focus on his campaign as People’s Party of Canada candidate for Nipissing-Timiskaming.
“I will be taking a leave of absence from council, DNSSAB (District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board), Discovery Routes, Cassellholme, all of those different boards to take the necessary time to run a good election campaign.”
King is feeling confident as his campaign kicks into high gear.
“Right now PPC has been taking polls here in the city. We know the prospect is good. We know that right now,” said King.
“There are 338 fully nominated candidates which fill all of the ridings in Canada. This is the fastest-growing party in the history of Canada and stand back, this is going to be quite an interesting election when we get down to the nuts and bolts.”
The Leaders’ Debate Commission which is organizing two federal debates, has excluded Maxime Bernier, PPC founder, and party leader from taking part.
At the local level, King says he has received invitations for at least two debates including one at Nipissing University.
That debate is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25 in the Nipissing University Theatre.
Hosted by the Retired Teachers of Ontario, the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) and the Canadore Students Council, the debate will run from 2 to 4 p.m.
The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, known for hosting election debates, has decided not to hold one this time around.
Instead, it will submit questions on behalf of the business community as part of a televised debate being organized by YourTV.
Details for that debate are still being ironed out.
“We will be providing business questions to YourTV for inclusion in the debate, as will many other partners throughout the city,” said Peter Chirico Chamber president.
“We will be providing platforms for the candidates to get their message out as they roll out into their campaigns. We will be asking each one of the candidates in Nipissing business questions and we will be publishing those through our newsletters and social media.”
When asked if King is eligible to participate in its debate, Cogeco's YourTV forwarded a release stating that it is their policy in accordance with the Leaders’ Debates Commission to “follow their methodology for Federal Leader’s Debates and apply them to local candidates’ debates.”
Candidates must meet two of three criteria, one of which states that “At the time the general election in question is called, the party is represented in the House of Commons by a Member of Parliament who was elected as a member of that party.”
Based on that criteria it appears King will be watching from the sidelines.
King is running against Liberal incumbent Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota, Conservative candidate Jordy Carr, and Rob Boulet representing the NDP.
The Green Party has not announced a local candidate.
In this, the 43rd general election, candidates have 41 days to campaign.
Voting day is October 21st.