On Wednesday, January 25, the NDP held a leadership debate in Montreal at Concordia University’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall on its Loyola campus. However, a few faces were absent from the debate.

Outrement NDP MP Thomas Mulcair and Ontario’s Paul Dewar could not attend because of previous engagements, while Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik-Eeyou MP Romeo Saganash had to cancel due to an illness in his family.

In attendance were Peggy Nash, Brian Topp, Martin Singh, Niki Ashton and Nathan Cullen. Speaking in English and French, the candidates discussed their views on such topics as education, environment, military spending and Stephen Harper’s support for Internet censorship.

Education took up a large portion of the debate seeing that many of those in attendance were students. Former NDP president Brian Topp stated, “Education is a right, [and] we should not have to pay for a right.”

The question of Canadian support for Palestinian statehood drew the most applause from the university crowd, with all of the candidates voicing support for the motion.