Candidates forum sheds light

Editor, Evan Matthews. / LAURA KEIL

by EVAN MATTHEWS
RMG Editor

The All Candidates Forum in McBride was very disappointing.

I speak in reference to the candidates, not the forum itself. Thank you to the McBride and District Chamber of Commerce for holding a forum, and thank you to the volunteers who helped pull it off.

The event was very telling. I had been very upfront — in the newspaper, even — about my election indecision to this point.

I advocated the need for candidates aside from Liberal Shirley Bond. I gave credit to the others for putting their names on the ballot.

And then came the time to discuss the issues.

The B.C. Green’s Nan Kendy, NDP’s Natalie Fletcher and Liberal’s Shirley Bond came together to talk about things like rural education funding, better access to healthcare, forestry, agriculture, economic development, highways, the future of energy in this province, etc. The list goes on.

With Shirley Bond being the exception, the candidates were simply not prepared, which to me is pretty telling.

If you can’t — or aren’t willing to — prepare adequately for what is essentially a job interview, why should you get the job?

Green Candidate Nan Kendy answered questions mostly by stumbling through them, speaking in vague terms and exceeding her allotted time, which was ironic given she really didn’t say much.

When asked how she would promote small business in McBride, Kendy paused for at least five seconds, and then spoke about how our society is in a time of transition from fossil fuels to technology and innovation. She added the need to invest in our schools. This was before being cut off for exceeding her time, of course.

I’m not really sure she answered the question, or any question for that matter. This was one example of the same thing, over and over.

Ask yourself, have Robson Valley Communities been improving over the last 16 years? But also ask; is change for the sake of change worth it? — Evan Matthews, editor

The NDP’s Natalie Fletcher made good points at times; she asserted the NDP’s platform, maybe even reverting back to the platform too often versus describing what she would do, right here in the Robson Valley. And she spoke in generalities a lot.

Specifically, though, she promised to reduce the Small Business Tax to two per cent and to freeze the ever-rising hydro rates. She expressed a need to change the rural education formula. She said the NDP is against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion.

But she had some really poor moments as well, once speaking to “you folks out here,” during what should have been a very collective “we” moment.

Fletcher didn’t know how long a municipal council term is, which may not be a big deal for most, but is something a provincial politician should know. It’s four years in B.C., by the way.

Shirley Bond was well versed.

She spoke from experience, and used a proven track record to support her positions. When speaking about Kinder Morgan she wasn’t afraid to say that while some people disagree, the resulting economic opportunity for communities like Valemount is too great to ignore. She supports the project, and so do the Liberals. She acknowledged areas to improve, but also pointed to areas of success. She was optimistic about the future.

The region knows what it’s going to get with Shirley. Like her or not, there is no denying her presence in the region. She knows so many in this community by name.

Again, I wouldn’t go as far to advocate — or otherwise — for a candidate, but this forum was telling.

We had two candidates on stage simply unaware of the issues affecting our communities, and one who has been at the centre of them — at ground zero — for 16 years.

Ask yourself, have Robson Valley Communities been improving over the last 16 years? But also ask; is change for the sake of change worth it?

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