An all-candidates forum next week will give voters the chance to see Nelson-Creston MLA hopefuls in action.
The Liberals’ Greg Garbula, Green Party’s Sjeng Derkx and NDP’s Michelle Mungall have all confirmed their attendance. Held at the Prestige Lakeside Resort on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m., the forum is hosted by the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsored by the Nelson Star and 103.5 The Bridge.
The Chamber’s Tom Thomson will moderate the event — one that the business organization has traditionally hosted. Though the forum won’t be commerce centred, the executive director jokes that he hopes “someone will mention the word business at some point in the evening.”
Concerned about politics at all levels, the Chamber has hosted candidate debates for municipal and federal elections as well as provincial.
“The Chamber has always wanted to be involved in elections at all levels,” Thomson says.
The evening will begin with candidates’ opening remarks followed by an equal mix of questions from a media panel and the audience. Then, candidates will summarize to conclude.
“We’re going back to the traditional format that we’ve had in the past,” Thompson says.
The forum is a chance for people to see the contenders in person and in action — how they may interact and handle pressure.
“It’s an opportunity for the people involved in the election to see each candidate directly,” Thomson says. “Our main concern is to make sure the community is educated and that their questions are answered.”
Leading up to next week’s forum, the candidates are in full campaign mode this weekend.
The Green Party is hosting an Earth Day inspired event at Lakeside Park. Derkx is inviting artists of all ages and abilities to help him upcycle campaign lawn signs, an event that also supports the need for public art spaces. The workshop will be conducted by the artists who did The Colours of Nelson mural project under the Orange Bridge along with other local artists.
“Nelson-Creston Greens have been talking about the need in our communities for legal public art space, especially for youth,” he says. “We made and kept reusable wood and metal signs for the election campaigns of [Nelson city councillor] Candice Batycki and [RDCK Area E Director] Ramona Faust. Out of our two initiatives came the idea to upcycle paints and other supplies to create beautiful campaign signs. My campaign is donating public art space by donating the canvass of a lawn sign.”
The Green Party folks will be at the Rotary barbeque area from 3 to 7 p.m. with the barbeque going on at 5:30, so bring something to throw on the grill, says Derkx.
Garbula will also be down at the park as he spends the weekend campaigning close to home. After attending the Rotary 100th anniversary open house on Friday at the Hume Hotel, the Liberal candidate will support those participating in the Rotary End Polio Now Family Fun Run starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Lakeside.
He will then travel up Kootenay Lake in the afternoon to meet with Kaslo’s mayor and citizens along with the people of Lardeau and Meadow Creek.
“It’s a big riding so I am on the road a lot, should anyone want to catch me call the office and I will make a point of going by their area for a visit… I can always stop campaigning for a coffee and a cookie,” he says. “Most every day you can find me at the dog park around 8 a.m. walking our dog Roscoe. If anyone wants to walk along with me I am always up for the conversation.”
Mungall is looking forward to the conversations she’ll have on Nelson doorsteps this weekend.
“Getting on the doorsteps and having those face-to-face conversations with the voters is most important,” she says. “I want to hear what’s important to them, their stories and what they want to see from a new government — what kind of changes they think are changes for the better.”
Also on the agenda are some Earth Day community events including a shoreline restoration project.
“These are great opportunities to do some excellent work in the community,” Mungall says.