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Hear directly from mayoral candidates at upcoming events

With at least three public Greater Sudbury mayoral candidate debates/forums scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, there will be a few opportunities to hear directly from candidates on myriad topics

With the municipal election just over one month away, it’s becoming increasingly important for the electorate to hear from the city’s slate of mayoral candidates.

At least three public mayoral debates/forums are scheduled to help fill in the gaps in public understanding of candidates’ platforms, beginning with a “Meet the Mayoral Candidates” event on Oct. 1 at The ParkSide Older Adult Centre (140 Durham Street) beginning at 1:30 p.m. 

The event is being hosted by the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) Sudbury Chapter and the Sudbury Arts Council. 

All nine mayoral candidates have been invited to participate, CARP president John Lindsay said, clarifying that this includes convicted purveyor of hate speech David Popescu.

“We haven’t said ‘no,’ and sometimes in these meetings we’ve held he’s shown up,” and at other times, he hasn’t appeared, Lindsay said of the perennial fringe candidate. 

During the 2018 civic election, Mayor Brian Bigger unsuccessfully urged the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce to shut Popescu out of their debate.

“The distractions and hatred Popescu champions serve any part in bettering the conversations that need to be had about Greater Sudbury,” Bigger said at the time.

Popescu has since served time in jail for wilfully promoting hatred toward vulnerable groups.

The ParkSide Older Adult Centre has room for approximately 250 people, and the event will be livestreamed on the organization’s Facebook page

CARP has hosted numerous such debates in the past, Lindsay said, and has expanded to encompass a wide spectrum of topics.

“The intent, primarily, was to give seniors the opportunity to have a crack at the candidates, but the issues that have been brought up have not by in large been seniors issues; it’s been all over the place.”

The event, he added, is “not exactly a debate,” though the moderator may allow some back and forth between candidates.

Then, on Oct. 3, Coalition for a Livable Sudbury is hosting a mayoral town hall at Sudbury Indie Cinema (162 MacKenzie St.) from 7-9 p.m. 

The event will focus on “environmental and social issues,” and will also be livestreamed. 

Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury has also asked candidates to sign a pledge highlighting such topics as urgent climate action and housing for all, the results of which they’ll post on their website prior to the Oct. 24 civic election.

On Oct. 6, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “Mayoral Candidates’ Fireside Chat” at the Collège Boréal concert hall from 7-9 p.m. 

The organization issued a survey to members to determine which candidates would be invited, which narrowed in on:

  • Brian Bigger
  • Evelyn Dutrisac
  • Paul Lefebvre
  • Miranda Rocca-Circelli
  • Mila Wong

Only five candidates were invited in order to help “facilitate a useful and productive discussion,” according to a Chamber newsletter, and none of the candidates who were left out expressed any hard feelings in conversation with

Take a guy like Popescu, Labranche said, “when he shows up to something, you don’t really want to hear it.”

There’s only so much time allotted at these events, and Labranche said that as a younger, less-known candidate, he understands why he wasn’t invited.

It just means he’ll have to get his message across in other ways, such as his campaign website and social media page, on which he has been posting campaign videos highlighting platform points.

Mayoral candidate Don Gravelle declined comment on the Chamber’s decision, while Bob Johnston said it’s like water off a duck’s back. 

“There’s always going to be favouritism, and it’s always going to lean one way, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t care if I spoke or not,” he said, adding that people are going to be able to hear about his campaign through other channels. “I don’t have to be talking at every event to feel important.”

Pledging a “big surprise for everybody” in the near future, Johnston said he will be attending other public events, including the CARP debate on Oct. 1, to share his platform.

At, a municipal election page has been set up into which all related stories are funneled. A list of eight questions drafted by the newsroom has been sent to all mayoral candidates except for Popescu, and their answers will be made available to readers sometime next week.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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