ST. CATHARINES | Candidates debate gun control, and opioid overdoses

st.cath

The St. Catharines federal election candidates came to the CKTB studio to take part in a debate ahead of the October 21st election.

CKTB News Director Bonnie Heslop hosted Conservative Party candidate Krystina Waler, Liberal candidate Chris Bittle, NDP candidate Dennis Van Meer, and Green Party candidate Travis Mason.

One of the hot topics for this debate was gun control.

Just last weekend, an early morning shooting injured 6 people in downtown St. Catharines.

Van Meer, Mason, and Bittle all agree that assault rifles need to be banned.

Waler disagrees, she says banning a specific gun won't help instead they need to fight gang violence and illegal guns.

The other big issue for St. Catharines is the opioid crisis.

Van Meer says the opioid crisis is something near and dear to him, as he's lost a friend to it, and he doesn't believe it should be a partisan issue.

Waler says she understands the need for supervised injection sites, but thinks they aren't enough.

Instead, she suggests focusing on rehabilitation.

Mason says the opioid crisis is a health emergency, and should be treated as such.

He wants decriminalize drugs, and treat overdoses as poisonings.

Bittle says it's about more than just addiction, it's about what causes people to get there such as poverty, housing issues, and mental health.

During the conversation, Bittle challenged Waler, mentioning that she used to be a policy advisor for the Provincial Conservatives and sat by while they cut mental health funding.

Waler fought back, saying she used to work for the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

To listen to the debate, click here.

Also running in St. Catharines is Allan DeRoo from the People's Party of Canada.

The federal election takes place on October 21st.