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Newmarket Liberal calls out Conservative for skipping events

Conservative candidate Dawn Gallagher-Murphy set to miss third all-candidate event in riding

Newmarket-Aurora Liberal candidate Dr. Sylvain Roy is calling out the Conservatives over missed candidate events.

Roy expressed concern in a May 16 news release that his Conservative rival, Dawn Gallagher-Murphy, chose not to attend three events for the riding. Gallagher-Murphy was absent at an Aurora Chamber of Commerce event May 11 and an Aurora Public Library event May 12. She has also indicated she will not attend the May 19 debate sponsored by the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, NewmarketToday and Newmarket Era.

“I entered this race and looked forward to discussing the issues that matter to the people of Ontario and particularly the voters of Newmarket-Aurora,” Roy said. “Part of that discussion involves debating the other candidates in the race so that voters can get a better understanding of who we are, where we stand, and how our policy proposals stack up.”

Gallagher-Murphy was scheduled to attend the May 12 event, but the Aurora Public Library said her campaign cancelled, citing a family emergency. Meanwhile, her campaign cited a scheduling conflict for not attending the upcoming May 19 debate in Newmarket. 

Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment. 

Candidates present referred to her absence at the May 12 meet-the-candidates night, which featured Roy along with NDP Denis Heng and Green Carolina Rodriguez. It was also open to Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill candidates, though only Liberal Marjan Kasirlou attended from that riding.

Conservative candidates have faced criticism for attending debates less often than the other main parties in previous elections. Newmarket-Aurora federal Conservative candidate Harold Kim also faced critique on that in last year’s federal election.

Smaller parties running in the riding — which include the Ontario Party, the Ontario Moderate Party, and the New Blue Party — have also missed out on the events, with none of them present at the May 12 Aurora event. Of them, only the New Blue Party has confirmed attendance for the May 19 debate, as have the Liberal, NDP and Green candidates.

Roy said he hopes Gallagher-Murphy reconsiders and attends that May 19 event. 

“It is unacceptable for her to take the voters of this riding for granted when there is no shortage of critical issues for which the people of Newmarket-Aurora deserve answers,” he said.