By Melissa Heald
Oct. 27, 2014
The structure had been outlined from the beginning. Each candidate would be allowed only three minutes on each question asked.
The exchange came early in the debate. The question had been on poverty.
Philip Brown asked moderator Kathleen Casey if he could give a rebuttal to a question Mayor Clifford Lee had just answered.
No, said Casey. It was clear the former speaker of house was running a tight ship.
Casey was moderating a debate between the three candidates running for mayor in Charlottetown at St. Paul’s Anglican church Oct. 19.
Held inside the perish hall, it was standing room only as Lee, Brown and Keith Kennedy spoke about social justice issues ranging from poverty to environment and community engagement.
Brown focused on the need to develop a second source of water for the city. Kennedy’s biggest concern was food security.
Charlottetown is a food insecure city, said Kennedy.
“We have the second highest food insecure province and, as the capital city, that makes us responsible for looking after food insecurity.”
If people are hungry, action is needed, said Kennedy.
Lee talked about the continuing strength of the city.
This city has achieved a lot of success over the last number of years, said Lee.
“We are poised to continue down that road, but we need to continue to work… to find ways where we come together as partners. as supposed to city hall pretending they have all the answers.”
The candidates, for the most part, were on their best behaviour throughout the debate. Kennedy and Lee had some light-hearted exchanges as Kennedy more then once promoted Step up to the Plate, an upcoming fundraiser for the Food Security Network.
The only other moment of tension came when Brown and Lee argued over the idea of fixed terms for mayors.
That would be his first priority if he were elected mayor, said Brown, going last on a question about community engagement.
“It opens it (council) up to new people, new idea, new energy, new blood.”
Lee responded a few minutes later when he was the first to speak on a question about community engagement.
“There is nothing more democratic than allowing anyone who wants to put their name on the ballot to put their name on the ballot to run for the mayor of this city,” he said, receiving applause from the audience.
It is the province’s responsibility to limit terms, said Lee.
“Can you image the province of Prince Edward Island coming in with a piece of legislation that limits the term limits for one position in this province…”
“No, that’s wrong,” said Brown, cutting Lee off.
“Not going to happen,” said Lee, finishing his thought.
Brown tried to clarify his responds, but Casey took control and made it clear Lee had the floor.
He has already talked to the province about fix terms, said Lee.
“After they stopped laughing at me about the concept, they said it ain’t going to happen.”
When Lee finished, Brown again tried to respond, but he was not allowed.
“Democracy is a great thing,” said Lee.
Kennedy was next to speak and asked Casey to repeat the question, drawing laughter from the audience.