EDITORIAL – Where were the B.C. Liberal candidates on Friday night?

Candidates (in group at right) Nancy Bepple (NDP), Donovan Cavers (Green), Dan Hines (Green), Beat Klossner(Communist) and Peter Kerek (Communist) at Friday night forum.

Candidates (in group sitting at right) Nancy Bepple (NDP), Donovan Cavers (Green), Dan Hines (Green), Beat Klossner (Communist) and Peter Kerek (Communist) at Friday night forum.

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN semi-officially got underway Friday night (Feb. 10, 2017).

Unofficially, it’s been going on for many months. Officially, it won’t start for a few weeks yet.

But Friday night was the first all-candidates’ forum, sort of. I say sort of, because it was sort of a hybrid event, focused on Kamloops air quality. The candidates were a bit of an add-on.

That is, the candidates who showed up. The B.C. Liberals were the only party not represented (Barb Nederpel, the NDP candidate in Kamloops-North Thompson, didn’t attend, but Nancy Bepple, running for the party in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding, did).

Neither Todd Stone nor Peter Milobar was there, and their absence didn’t go unnoticed.

It may have been that Stone and Milobar had other things to do that night. One wonders, though, because the B.C. Liberals have a track record of avoiding a lot of all-candidates’ forums during election campaigns. In the past, they’ve taken the approach that it’s worthwhile only to attend a couple of the largest ones, and stay away from the smaller forums, especially those hosted by special interest groups.

Granted, while one should avoid stereotyping a crowd or making generalizations, the Friday night audience at TRU had the appearance of not being dominated by Liberals supporters. And it was a small crowd, about 60, in a very big room.

Nevertheless, hosted by Michael Mehta of TRU, the format worked nicely and important stuff was discussed: forest practices, air pollution, public transportation, bio-solids, Ajax. A new air monitoring system was explained.

The audience seemed to appreciate the fact candidates had taken the time to talk to them. The candidates, for their part, showed by attending that they understand MLAs represent everyone, and that they respect the democratic process.

Let’s hope the B.C. Liberals will do the same this election and that Friday night wasn’t the start of a trend.

About Mel Rothenburger (5438 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Where were the B.C. Liberal candidates on Friday night?

  1. Really Pierre? Wanting clean air is spoiled meat? Grow up!

    • Dear Charlie:
      The issue of clean air is very dear to me and I do wish elected officials would do more to guarantee ample supply of it.
      For example, I often raise the issues of a local strong anti-idling campaign, a ban on drive-thru and and a clamp-down on modified vehicles. None of the above-mentioned items have gone anywhere because…because people (including local politicians vying for an MLA seat) seem to be not overly concerned.
      As for the forum, or any other forum for that matter, the issue is somewhat irrelevant. Tiny crowds of often rabid supporters are “oppressive” and pointless to attend, in my humble opinion.
      And I will certainly re-evaluate that “grow-up” thing you mentioned.

  2. Really? Believe the answer to this question is the BC Liberal candidates are busy doing what they are paid to do, that’s govern. One is a top-performing Cabinet Minister the other a Mayor. And between these two men it has been a VERY good week as each has effectively delivered millions for the Kamloops region; ground-breaking on a new trade and training building at TRU, new indoor track thanks to Mayor’s strong relationship with the Feds and, oh, that $500 million or so for a new hospital wing that the NDP leader feels isn’t really needed.
    When the writ is dropped and the platforms are out, Kamloops voters will be able to judge the record of these two men and compare it to the alternative. Plenty a debate will take place at that time.
    I understand the other candidates are bored right now but their bordem should not take precedence over what the BC Liberal candidates are doing — they jobs of governing for the good of Kamloops.

  3. Can’t really blame them from not attending…partisan crowds are like…spoiled meat.

  4. If you are a BC Liberal supporter and you care (even a bit) about the environment, please let your party know! I know many who support the BC Libs, but who also care about air quality, health and quality of life. This election should be about so much more than flash, photo ops and slogans!

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