One of these candidates happens to be the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, one Diane Finley. This from October 5:
Where in the world is Diane Finley?
Where is Diane Finley? Two missed all-candidates meetings in three days. We are asking for your help to track her down before she misses two more.
SIMCOE, Ont. - Stephen Harper's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, spouse to Harper's second-in-command and campaign manager, hasn't been around that much. Amid allegations of Diane Finley's Ministry providing an untendered contract to a Conservative candidate in Vancouver, and rumours that the Conservative leadership in Ottawa is asking candidates not to attend all-candidates meetings or debates, we had to ask ourselves: surely this wouldn't keep a cabinet minister out of her own riding?
The people of Dunnville are wondering too. She never showed up to their all-candidates meeting. Last night, the people tuning in to the Cable 14 (Hamilton) all-candidates debate were also left wondering where she was. That is two missed all-candidates debates in three days. And, if the word on the street is correct, there will be no Diane Finley at the Rotary Club of Simcoe all-candidates meeting at Monday noon. The big question: will she be in Caledonia on Monday night?
"Participation in local debates and being accessible at election time in order to allow voters to make informed choices on where you stand on the issues of the day is a cornerstone of our democracy. The people of Haldimand-Norfolk know better--they will not accept her failure to participate", said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Liberal Candidate, Haldimand-Norfolk.
Why is it important that she shows up? If Diane Finley skips the Caledonia all-candidates meeting she will be avoiding one of the most pressing First Nations issues in the country; and, failing to face her record on the Caledonia land claims issue. The people of Caledonia need her there.
This meeting is guaranteed to be standing-room only; it is the meeting where the probability of protests are higher than any other all-candidates meeting in the country; and, where Finley's record will be directly at issue and under close and critical scrutiny. Would that stop her from coming? The outlook is not good.
"I'd happily give her a ride to the meeting if she can't find her way there." Peter Hellyer, Dr. Eric Hoskins' Campaign Manager.
And this from Monday:
CALEDONIA, Ont. -- Immigration Minister Diane Finley received a bumpy reception during an all-candidates debate Monday in this town hit hard by a festering and at times violent land-claims dispute.
Finley, who is in a tough battle for re-election in the southern Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, was greeted by tepid applause interspersed with boos by the standing-room only crowd of about 200 people, who packed a local Legion hall to listen to their six candidates.
"I'm proud to be here," the Conservative politician said in her opening comment.
"I don't know why," someone interjected, drawing the wrath of a moderator who made it clear on several occasions that heckling would not be tolerated, even threatening to have one man arrested.
If all goes well today, I'll be part of a small contingent of war resisters and campaigners greeting Ms. Finley in the town of Simcoe. Report to follow, of course.