NIAGARA FALLS | Candidates debate how to help small businesses and blackface scandal

Niagara Falls Candidates

The Niagara Falls candidates were in studio taking part in a debate as we creep closer to the federal election on October 21st.

CKTB host Larry Fedoruk was joined by Liberal Candidate Andrea Kaiser, Conservative Tony Baldinelli, the NDP's Brian Barker, the Green's Sandra O'Connor and Independent candidate Mike Strange.

The race is a hot one since longtime Conservative MP Rob Nicholson is not running again.

One of the issues brought up was the Liberal's brown/blackface scandal after pictures of Justin Trudeau were released weeks ago.

Strange, who was also photographed in blackface at a Halloween party in 2009, says he also made an error in judgement and that's why he couldn't run for the Conservatives.

He says he didn't mean to be offensive, and he is not a racist. He admits it was a stupid thing to do.

Kaiser says she is glad Trudeau apologized and this is a time to learn and grow as a country.

She says when you look at the Liberal's past four year, you see a leader who is inclusive and respectful.

Baldinelli says it's disappointing, and it shows Trudeau as a fraud.

Barker says he was working as a teacher in 2001 when Trudeau's blackface picture was taken, and he knew back then it was culturally insensitive.

He says he doesn't believe he is a racist.

O'Connor says if people learn from their mistakes that's one thing, but she thinks this shows some questionable judgement since he was a teacher. She says she also questions some of Andrew Scheer's claims that he is an insurance broker.

When it comes to supporting small business, O'Connor says the Green party would help small farmers by increasing their market share.

She would like to see high-speed rail to the falls to help bring in more tourists in a green manner.

Baldinelli says small businesses can't afford the Liberal's tax hikes, and the Conservatives would ease the pressure.

Kaiser says as an MP she would work with the business sector to find a year-round business to keep residents employed at all times of the year.

Strange points to the Ryerson innovation hub saying things are moving in the right direction.

He would also like to see a training facility for border guards built in Fort Erie, saying we have four international crossings so it only makes sense to house the training.

Barker says small businesses can save hundreds of dollars a month if the NDP's plans for a national pharmacare plan become a reality.

He also says it's time that big business pay their fair share of taxes.

To listen to today's debate. click here.

Also running in Niagara Falls is Alex Taylor with the People's Party of Canada.

CKTB's next debate will be this Thursday as we host the candidates from St.Catharines at 2pm.