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B.C. ELECTION 2017: Kamloops all candidate debate has heated moments but few surprises

The candidates running in the riding of Kamloops-South Thompson listen to B.C. NDP candidate Nancy Bepple at an all candidates forum at Thompson Rivers University on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
April 26, 2017 - 10:08 AM

KAMLOOPS - Last night the nine men and women vying to represent Kamloops residents in the provincial legislature took to the stage at Thompson Rivers University for an evening of questions, answers and heckling from the crowd.

The forum for the candidates in the ridings of Kamloops-South Thompson and Kamloops-North Thompson included questions from the crowd and there were few surprises on the topics of health care, the proposed Ajax mine, education and the provincial budget.

From their answers it wouldn’t be difficult to sum up in a few words each candidate and their party’s platforms.

Todd Stone and Peter Milobar from the B.C. Liberal Party stuck to the importance of a strong economy powering everything else in the province while B.C. NDP candidates Nancy Bepple and Barbara Nederpel took the opportunity to attack the Liberals and promote a service filled platform that would be friendlier to the middle class.

Green Party candidates Donovan Cavers and Dan Hines keyed in on trust, or lack there of, in the two main parties while also pushing service ideals and advised British Columbians to think about the future of the province.

Communist candidates Beat Klossner and Peter Kerek pointed out the flaws they see in the current system and promised better under a socialist regime.

Libertarian candidate Jessica Bradshaw, who only spoke four times during the forum, including opening and closing statements, spoke about distrust in politicians in general and asked people to visit the Libertarian website.

All of the public’s more difficult questions went to the four candidates from the Liberal and NDP parties, with a few softer ones going to the Greens and none for the three outsider candidates, though Communists Klossner and Kerek did take the opportunity to jump in occasionally to criticize the province’s political and economic system.

Stone and Milobar faced the most heated questions on campaign finance, education and health care. Some of the public took their chance at the mic to voice anger at the current government as much as to ask a question. The NDP didn’t go unscathed, either, with some questions showing a distrust in the official opposition.

At no point did any candidate veer from party lines. The Green and Communist candidates spoke against the Ajax Mine Project, while the Liberals and NDP are leaving the decision in the hands of the provincial and federal agencies tasked with studying the issue.

All the major party candidates spoke about improving health care and education, with Stone defending the government’s record. Campaign finance stirred the pot a bit, with Liberal and NDP candidates sniping at each other, while the Greens and Communists spoke about banning corporate and unions altogether.

Stone in particular faced the more heated questions on party finances.

“Here is the bottom line,” he said as jeers and laughter came from the crowd. “We believe in absolute transparency.”

Those gathered at TRU for the forum genarlly applauded for questions and answers, with obvious partisan splits and heckles when candidates tried to talk around a question. Near the end of the night moderator Bill O’Donovan from CFJC called out one heckler in particular, former Liberal health minister Terry Lake, pointing out he had ceded his spot to Milobar for this election.

The all candidates forum was organize by a group of local news media and open to the public. It’s the only event scheduled with all nine local candidates.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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