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Daggers out at all-candidates meeting

Four of riding's nine candidates talk



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The next question was aimed at Weston, and how the Conservative Party could justify military spending levels while claiming to be responsible spenders.

Weston pointed to the strength of the economy. "We're in the worst recession we've seen in some 80 years (but we've seen) six straight quarters of economic growth, 480,000 new jobs since July of 2009." He also said that the Liberal Party neglected the military during their tenure, and said he was proud that Canadians soldiers were viewed as the best equipped.

Weston also didn't shy away from the controversial purchase of new F-35 jets to replace Canada's aging F-18 air fleet. He pointed out that the Liberal Party started the process of purchasing the replacement jets, and that the Liberals would still have had to purchase new jets for the military.

LegasseĀ“, who's central plank is to bring Canadian soldiers home from Afghanistan, talked about the cost in Canadian and Afghan lives, and suggested that $1.45 million people have been killed in a conflict that is probably illegal to start with.

Veniez said the purchase was not cost-effective because the contract was given without being tendered.

"This is the first time in Canadian history that a procurement has been made on an tendered basis," he said. "This is our money. The case has not been made that F-35s are what we need, and the case has not been made that it should have been untendered. And the case has certainly not been made to spend $30 billion on planes without engines.

"The planes must be replaced, and we're sure that this isn't the way to do it."

Wauters said we could equip soldiers in the most high-tech gear, but the question should be asked why we're putting them into harm's way to begin with. "It's difficult to understand why we're there," he said, after suggesting that the money would be better spent on green technology that would render oil - and wars over oil - obsolete.

The next question was related to health care and directed at Dan Veniez - specifically where the money would come from to pay for the health care initiatives proposed in the Liberal Red Book.

"That's an easy one," said Veniez, who pointed to the $30 billion for F-35 planes. "Let me tell you where we could cut some more. $12 billion for prisons we don't need. $6 billion for corporate tax cuts when we already have one of the most competitive corporate tax regimes n the world."