Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

April 20, 2011 18:31 ET

Where's Leanna Villella? Tory Hopeful Skips All-Candidates Forum in Welland

"Her empty chair isn't very different from Stephen Harper's empty promises to the region," says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn

WELLAND, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 20, 2011) - Voters at an all-candidates forum held today in Welland were left with a big unanswered question-where was Conservative hopeful Leanna Villella?

The Tory candidate's seat was the only empty chair at the candidate's meeting, organized by the Niagara District Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Council.

"We have 7,000 members who live in this region, and the fact Leanna Villella was the only candidate who couldn't be bothered to attend is a major problem for us," said Susan Schmidt, chair of the Niagara District CUPE Council.

"It's incredibly disrespectful to our members, who deserve to hear directly from all candidates about how they intend to address the serious issues confronting this region," she added.

Schmidt's comments were echoed by CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who unlike Villella, managed to make it to the afternoon forum.

"Leanna Villella was able to make it when her leader, Stephen Harper came to talk about gun control and make empty statements about the Canadian economy in a region where thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs have vanished under his watch," said Hahn.

"In a way, her empty chair isn't very different from Stephen Harper's empty promises," he added.

Schmidt said Villella's absence should and would have an impact on her members' votes on May 2.

"CUPE members may not agree with somebody, but they respect people who are willing to debate and defend their beliefs-but not somebody who can't even be bothered to show up," she said.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Fred Hahn

    CUPE Communications
    Kevin Wilson