September 28, 2015 - 3:30 PM
PENTICTON - Five candidates vying for a federal seat in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding faced about 125 voters at a weekend all candidate’s forum in Penticton.
The candidates spent some time sniping at each other over which party has the soundest fiscal reputation at the forum held at the Penticton’s Senior’s Centre on Saturday, Sept. 26.
New Democrat candidate Richard Cannings was asked how a NDP government would finance the numerous election promises the party has made during the campaign.
Calling the New Democrats “the party of fiscal responsibility” Cannings said provincial NDP governments have held the best record nationally for balancing the budget.
“We’re very good financial managers. We know where we’re going to get the money, and we know what we’re going to do with it,” Cannings said.
Conservative candidate Marshall Neufeld responded to Canning’s comments, noting B.C.’s NDP government in the 1990s under Glen Clark ran up massive deficits.
Green Party candidate Samantha Troy said federal Conservative governments under Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper had the worst records for fiscal management.
The tightly managed affair saw a moderator ask each candidate a specific question, followed by a series of questions open to all to respond. The questions included some from the audience.
All five candidates appeared composed and thoughtful when responding to questions ranging from the need for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, to doctor assisted death.
Issues drawing the biggest reaction from the audience were centred around the issue of a national park in the South Okanagan and the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana.
Cannings and Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk both pronounced strong support for a park, while Troy, Neufeld and independent candidate Brian Gray all wanted more discussions with stakeholders, noting the negative effects a national park could have on a number of existing businesses in the region.
The prospect of a more liberalized policy towards marijuana use appeared to rejected outright by Neufeld, who insisted marijuana to be an illegal drug with dangerous lasting effects. He said the Conservatives do not support easier access to dangerous drugs, drawing jeers from those assembled when he added the Liberals seemed to “want to make it available for daily use.”
Both Denesiuk and Troy advocated legalization and taxation of the substance, while Cannings said the NDP prefer decriminalization.
Gray expressed concern about the functionality of the country’s future workforce should marijuana be legalized.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015