Our local Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter is hosting a nonpartisan all candidates forum with Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace on Sept. 16 in Nelson. The focus is on peace, security, and climate change — topics that are of increasing importance to Canadians in the 21st century.
This forum is an important event that will help voters see where candidates stand on key issues. So we were disappointed to read in the Star that Kootenay Columbia Conservative David Wilks plans to attend only forums hosted by Chambers of Commerce between Sept. 21 and Oct. 2.
Mr. Wilks was sent an invitation to the forum in early June, which was verified when we met in July. So he and his staff knew that our forum was outside the apparently arbitrary 13-day window of availability in this 77-day campaign.
We have been in touch with Mr. Wilks’ campaign manager several times over the past two weeks to get confirmation of his plans, which have included verbal promises to get back to us. So far, we have heard nothing back.
Our democratic process is stronger when all candidates participate in public forums. Participation shows that candidates care about voters’ questions and concerns.
The community would value hearing his views on the forum’s themes and ways that he might consider influencing Conservative Party platform.
If Mr. Wilks does not attend, his views could be misrepresented, so we requested that he assign a designee in his place or send a written statement for the forum — but again no response.
However, we still anticipate a very engaging informative event. We thank candidates Bill Green (Green Party), Don Johnston (Liberal Party), and Wayne Stetski (NDP) for their willingness to participate in the forum. We will continue to hold a welcoming chair for Mr. Wilks at the venue.
Laura Sacks and Judy O’Leary
Citizens’ Climate Lobby