Incumbent MP David Wilks sets record straight on debates
After taking heat in the media and from groups trying to host all-candidate forums in the Kootenay/Columbia riding, incumbent MP David Wilks has confirmed his attendance after the parties agreed to a host of debates throughout the riding beginning in Kaslo.
“Considering it was my team that set up all the debates, I’ll be there,” Wilks confirmed Tuesday to The Nelson Daily.
There was some questioning from Liberal candidate Don Johnston as to whether or not the Conservative MP would be attending these debates.
Johnston’s election team responded to an invitation to help coordinate candidate debates in the new riding.
At the time Johnston said his goal was simply “to ensure every voter will be close enough to a venue to hear the positions and records of the candidates.”
“Johnston has now agreed to a full schedule but still isn’t sure if David Wilks, the current MP, will attend the same debates,” Johnston said in a Liberal Party press release.
Johnston added, “Now that three parties and all of the hosts have agreed to a schedule we would love to have Mr. Wilks announce his intentions so we and the hosts can all prepare appropriately.”
But during the conversation Monday, Wilks told The Nelson Daily the only forum he could not attend is a forum co-hosted by Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace and the Nelson-West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) set for United Church (602 Silica Street) on Wednesday, September 16.
“I can’t make that one as I’m already obligated to other events in Cranbrook that day,” he said.
“The only one we’re missing potentially is Creston and we haven’t heard back from them,” Wilks added.
There will be a total of 11 debates taking place over a four-week period, with nine taking place in local Chamber of Commerce offices.
The circuit begins (Tuesday) September 15 in Kaslo followed by the MIR Centre/Citizens Climate Lobby event in Nelson.
The Nelson Chamber hosts the event September 24 at the Prestige Inn beginning at 7 p.m.
There are also debates planned for Invermere, Kimberley, Creston, Elk Valley and two in Cranbrook.
The Revelstoke forum will be hosted by a coalition of local media outlets.
“We were well aware that the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce wasn’t in a position to host a forum before they ever made it official so we had already asked local media for suggestions,” Johnston explained.
“In the end three media outlets the Current, the Mountaineer, and the Times Review all got together to jointly host a forum on September 21st. We appreciate their efforts and the community passion.”
The Federal Election is set for October 19, 2015.
Wilks, the incumbent MP from the Conservative Party in Kootenay/Columbia, is up against Liberal candidate, Johnston Bill Green, of the Green Party, Wayne Stetski of the NDP and Christina Yahn of the Libertarian Party.