MUN economists to test political leaders in pre-election debate

     Newfoundland’s three political party leaders will face off in a pre-election debate hosted by three leading economists at Memorial University on October 14.

     Professors Doug May, Scott Lynch and Wade Locke of the Collaborative Applied Research in Economics (CARE) group, an initiative of the Department of Economics at Memorial, will also devise the questions for the leaders.

     The debate takes place from 7-9:45 p.m. in the lecture theatre of the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, room IIC-2001. It is open to the public and the media. 

     Dwight Ball of the Liberal Party, Premier Paul Davis of the Progressive Conservatives and Earle McCurdy of the New Democratic Party have all agreed to participate.

     The economists will provide four questions to all three parties two weeks in advance of the debate. The moderator will read the questions verbatim. Each party leader will have time to respond to each question, followed by a discussion of the question among all three leaders before the moderator moves the debate onto the next question.

     The debate will provide an opportunity to promote greater understanding of both the economic and fiscal issues facing the province, said Dr. Locke.

     “This debate should facilitate the ability of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to make a more informed decision on Nov. 30,” he added.

     This fall’s election is coming on the heels of a severe downturn in oil prices and some metals commodities, including iron ore, upon which the provincial government is heavily dependent for revenue. The next provincial government is also expected to have to grapple with challenging demographic pressures posed by an aging population and shrinking economy as several megaprojects come to completion over the next several years.

     CARE's philosophy, adopted by May, Lynch and Locke, the group’s principal investigators, is that the provision of unbiased and technically competent analysis, delivered in an understandable format, is essential for public discourse and debate on important public policy issues faced by Newfoundland and Labrador. According to a university spokesperson, CARE is not an advocacy group, nor a consulting agency and it is not politically affiliated. The self-identified mandate of CARE is to promote greater understanding of applied economic issues within the province.

Posted on September 3, 2015 .