Former MP Stockwell Day came back to Penticton to give a speech in support of Helena Konanz, who is running for one of the districts that was formed out of the one Day used to represent. Konanz recently challenged the other candidates in the South Okanagan - West Kootenay riding to attend a series of debates. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Former MP Stockwell Day came back to Penticton to give a speech in support of Helena Konanz, who is running for one of the districts that was formed out of the one Day used to represent. Konanz recently challenged the other candidates in the South Okanagan - West Kootenay riding to attend a series of debates. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Don’t ‘hijack the process’: South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates fire back

Conservative candidate Helena Konanz issued a challenge to the other candidates in the riding

The federal election is months away, but candidates in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding are already bickering.

Earlier this week, Conservative candidate Helena Konanz issued a challenge to the other candidates in the riding to a “comprehensive set of debates” that would span the entire riding leading up to the election in October.

READ MORE: Konanz wins the federal Conservative nomination

“We should have a full slate of debates that cover the entire riding and I am committed to attending every single one. We shall see if Justin Trudeau’s candidate or our NDP opponent agree with me,” said Konanz in a news release.

Konanz proposed the creation of a committee that includes one representative from each campaign who can work with debate organizers from community-based groups to schedule a series of debates throughout the riding.

“My campaign will be reaching out to all the other campaigns to make this a reality. I firmly believe that democracy should be accessible to all citizens. Time will tell if my opponents feel the same way,” said Konanz.

READ MORE: Denesiuk announced as the Liberal candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk was the first to issue a response.

“It strikes me as ironic that the Conservative candidate has issued a democratic challenge that in its essence robs our community organizations, schools and issue-based groups of their voices and important role in shaping the conversation in this election,” said Denesiuk.

Denesiuk added that she already expects there will be close to two dozen organized debates without Konanz trying to “hijack the process.”

READ MORE: Greens choose Rosslander to represent them in the federal election

“I’m glad to hear the Conservatives plan to participate this time. They skipped most of them in 2015,” she said.

Tara Howse, the Green party candidate, said she is up to the challenge, however, took some issue with the wording Konanz chose to use.

“I am not particularly fond of the language or how it was worded, but that is coming from my community organizer background. I would have gone about it differently, but ultimately the end goal is the same that we want to ensure we are all heard across the riding,” said Howse.

READ MORE: NDP Cannings ready to step into new riding

She added that she hopes the intention is not the “hijack” what community groups are planning and appreciates a more environmentally sensitive schedule that would see a more co-ordinated travel schedule.

Incumbent Richard Cannings, who represents the NDP party, also noted that he is happy to hear a Conservative candidate is planning to attend all the forums this time around.

“I think in 2015 we had 20 forums that everyone was invited to. I went to all 20 and the Conservative candidate went to 10, as I recall. I am just happy to see the Conservatives have decided they are going to attend and we won’t have an empty chair beside us,” said Cannings in response to Konanz’ challenge.

Cannings said, for the most part, having community organizations and chambers of commerce’s have worked out well in the past and he doesn’t believe a special committee needs to be set up as Konanz suggested. He also said he did not appreciate some of the comments from the Conservatives and Konanz.

“I’ve been a little disappointed with some of the wording of the Conservative messages on Facebook and things like that, but that’s politics what can I say? I try to stay positive. If I don’t think their policies are good, then I will talk about policies. I know both Connie and Helena and we get along well, so I will keep personal attacks out of it for sure. I try to be fair on my comments on policy, that is the way I work anyways,” said Cannings.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

federal election 2019

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Boxing club owner Jesse Pineiro, Nelson’s 2021 sports ambassador, recommends the novel Hurry Home by Roz Nay, the new cultural ambassador, who has taken up boxing (at least for this photo). Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson bestows annual ambassadorships, awards

Residents recognized for achievements in arts, sports, heritage and sustainability

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

The Civic Theatre’s Eleanor Stacey writes there’s plenty of evidence to show theatres will rebound after the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: The future of cinema is bright

Why we can all expect to be seeing films on the big screen again soon enough

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read