Desktop – Leaderboard

Home » Stetski challenges current MP to eight debates

Posted: July 10, 2015

Stetski challenges current MP to eight debates

NDP candidate for Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski has challenged Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks to eight debates, in eight riding communities leading up to the Oct. 19 federal election.

“An election is a job interview. The current MP has a habit of not showing up, and that’s not good enough for the people of Kootenay-Columbia, Stetski stated late last week.

Four of the five candidates running for Kootenay-Columbia attended the Kimberley all-candidates' forum in 2011 - Independent ??????, Green Party Bill Green, Liberal Party's Betty Aitchison and Mark Shmigelsky, NDP. Missing: David Wilks, Conservative Party. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
Four of the five candidates running for Kootenay-Columbia attended the Kimberley all-candidates’ forum in 2011 – Independent Brent Bush, Green Party Bill Green, Liberal Party’s Betty Aitchison and Mark Shmigelsky, NDP. Missing: David Wilks, Conservative Party. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Wilks’ record of attendance was a poor 43% in the 2011 election campaign, while NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky attended every single event, Stetski said.

“I intend to be there, debating the current MP at every opportunity,” he said, adding, “We are all asking the people of this area to choose us to be their representative. This is a job interview, so we all have to show up.”

Stetski is suggesting the formation of a debate committee, composed of a representative of every candidate, to work directly with debate organizers to set a debate calendar that works for everyone, and provides debates in all eight major communities in the riding.

“David Wilks must commit to be at an all-issues debate in every major community,” continued Stetski. “That means we organize events in Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook, Fernie, Creston, and Nelson, and we cement it into our calendars. Claiming that you have another event booked cannot be an excuse for not showing up.”

In the 2011 election campaign, Wilks either refused invitations to attend, or, in the case of Revelstoke, he said he was booked elsewhere.

Stetski’s campaign team sent an official request to Wilks, Green Party candidate Bill Green, and Liberal Party candidate Don Johnston to ask them to provide a representative to negotiate dates for all eight debates.

NDP candidate Wayne Stetski
NDP candidate Wayne Stetski

“If this offer is refused one will have to wonder whether or not Mr. Wilks is really willing to take questions from his constituents in a public forum. Is he really willing to debate his opponents? Or does he think that once again he can just rely on the record of the previous Conservative MP to win this election?” concluded Cranbrook resident Stetski.

Kimberley’s Green said eight is not enough, and is calling for 11 all-candidate meetings to ensure everyone in our riding has the chance to listen and ask questions of their federal election candidates.

“We have a very large riding with many smaller communities and we need to work to make sure that very few voters need to travel more than 30 minutes to get to a debate,” said Green in response to an NDP proposal for eight all-candidate meetings.

In addition to the eight communities proposed by the NDP campaign team Green proposes that all-candidates meetings be scheduled in Salmo, Kaslo and on the east shore of Kootenay Lake (Gray Creek or Crawford Bay.)

“In 2011, I participated in six of the seven all-candidates’ public forums and only unfortunately missed one in Invermere. I greatly enjoyed the debates and believe they provide the best way for voters to learn about their candidates and the candidates’ perspective and priorities. Recent polling shows strong and growing support for the Green Party in British Columbia. I look forward to further building that support in this riding in the lead up to and during the campaign period.”

Green is accepting the NDP proposal for a Candidate Debate Committee. The Green Party campaign team will be represented on the committee.

Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks
Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks

“It is my expectation that the committee will work closely with local community hosts to develop a debate schedule and formats that meet the needs of all communities as well as all of the candidates,” he said.

WIlks, meanwhile, told e-KNOW he is currently too busy to worry about organizing candidates’ debates or a joining such a committee.

“The NDP candidate has mentioned debates but right now I am focused on traveling the constituency, working on funding announcements,” he said, shortly after taking part in a broadband funding announcement July 8.

“We’ll focus on debates closer to the election,” Wilks said.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Article Share