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Shepherd won't debate unless all candidates given equal opportunity

Sharon Shepherd was one of five out of eight candidates selected to participate at the Chamber of Commerce's mayoral forum at Manteo Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. She says she won't participate in any further forums or debates until all candidates are included.
October 24, 2014 - 4:58 PM

KELOWNA – Mayoral candidate Sharon Shepherd says she won’t participate in any forums or debates leading up to the November municipal election unless all candidates are invited.

“Democracy is an inclusive process. When eight people qualify to vie for the Mayor’s seat on Kelowna City Council, they each deserve a fair opportunity to speak,” Shepherd says in a release sent Friday. “For this reason I believe I must stand on principle and declare I cannot participate in any forum which does not provide equal opportunity for all to speak.”

Shepherd says she made the decision after finding out three candidates were not allowed to participate in the Chamber of Commerce’s election forum Wednesday.

“I don’t even know some of the candidates but all of them have done their due process,” she says. “They’ve met the criteria and the public should do the selecting.”

Shepherd and Basran, considered the front-runners in the election, are scheduled to participate in the Urban Development Institute debate October 30, but Shepherd says unless all candidates have the opportunity to take part, she will decline.

“I don’t think it’s right,” she says. “Everyone should have an equal opportunity to present their platforms.”

“To have anyone choosing who should be there, based on a selection committee, on a unofficial poll, or any other criteria, limits the opportunity for democracy. True leadership only emerges in an inclusive and supportive community.”

Calls to the Urban Development Institute were not immediately returned.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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