B.C. ELECTION 2017: More about personality than the topic at Thursday night's political forum | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. ELECTION 2017: More about personality than the topic at Thursday night's political forum

An all-candidates forum on child and family poverty and aging out of foster care took place Thursday, April 27, 2017, at the hollywood Road Education Centre, hosted by Community Action Toward Children's Health.

KELOWNA - Personalities shone through at Thursday night’s all-candidates forum, hosted by Community Action Toward Children’s Health.

The forum focused on child and family poverty, as well as aging out of foster care and took place at the Hollywood Road Education Centre.

Those in attendance included Kelowna-West candidate Shelley Cook and Kelowna-Mission candidate Harwinder Sandhu for the NDP.

Representing the Green Party was Kelowna-West candidate Robert Mellalieu, Kelowna-Mission candidate Rainer Wilkins and filling in for Alison Shaw - who was at another forum for Kelowna-Lake Country - was Robert Stupke.

Conservative candidate Chuck Hardy, running in the Kelowna-Mission and Independent Brian Theisen running in the Kelowna-West riding, made up the remainder of the group.

An empty chair and name placard were placed for candidates who did not respond to the forums’ invitation, the only space reserved was for Kelowna-West Liberal incumbent and B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

Over the course of the two-hour forum, many issues surrounding impoverished children and families, as well as issues on foster care were raised. For NDP candidate Shelley Cook and former executive director of the John Howard Society, the topic was right in her wheelhouse.

“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired — it’s time for a change in B.C.,” Cook said. “I am committed to comprehensive planning and changing systemic challenges.”

Cook said there needs to be direct investment in services, and an interdisciplinary children services building needs to be built.

Throughout the debate, it was Hardy who continued to garner attention for his boisterous demeanor. At one point, when he thought a member of the audience laughed, Hardy raised his voice to demand the woman “come up and speak”.

At another point, when a candidate asked the audience who were undecided voters and not many raised their hands, Hardy mumbled “Well then, why are we here?”

For independent candidate Brian Theisen, he says the issues all stem from the same problem - where the money is going under the current government. His slogan, “try and get the province back” involves scrutiny of crown corporations such as B.C. Hydro.

In his response to whether he would support a $10 per day child care plan, he wavered between saying yes and no.

“We need to get to the root cause of all issues like this, we don’t need to be handing out any more money because it’s already there, the government is just taking it from you,” he said.

The Green Party candidates continued to emphasize their party platform is based on sound economics and preparing for the future.

For his closing remarks, Kelowna-West candidate Mellalieu told the audience he was just a regular person, wanting to make a change in the region.

“I’m just your neighbour, I’m just a guy.”

The B.C. provincial election is May 9, 2017.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 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 © iNFOnews, 2017

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