‘Flagging’ candidates on the hot seat at yet another meeting

Those expecting Green Party candidate Alice Hooper to escort the Conservative’s tar sands policies to the gallows Tuesday evening, left another all candidate’s forum disappointed.

  • Apr. 29, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Those expecting Green Party candidate Alice Hooper to escort the Conservative’s tar sands policies to the gallows Tuesday evening, left another all candidate’s forum disappointed.

Then again, the NDP’s Tisha Kalmanovitch didn’t get much further with her jabs on social policy and the loss of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, and Liberal Kris Stewart silenced the room with her admission she doesn’t know what her party’s stance on foreign aid is or understand why Canada is sending money overseas when there is poverty in Canada.

As such, the third all-candidate’s meeting of the week stuck to the same theme as all the others—the message track—despite the fact the pews of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church offered up the only left-leaning audience of the campaign.

“This is our third all -candidates meeting in 24 hours, so if we start to look a bit flagged, that’s why,” said Kalmanovitch, who returned to the complaint at the end of the evening when the candidates were asked if they wanted to continue or wrap up.

Incumbent, Conservative Ron Cannan, explained he believes many citizens within the riding do not understand what the federal government does, saying its role is confined to income taxes, pensions and the military, whereas the provinces look after health, education and social issues.

No one challenged him on the public versus private health care debate raging across the country, or pointed out the national health care system is governed under the Canada Health Act

If there was a challenge in the evening, it was clearly in the questions from the audience, which valiantly tried to suss out each party’s stance on issues like eliminating poverty, recovery from economic decline and deficits versus debt.

A few fiery sparks flew over each party’s approach to accountability when the candidates where asked how their parties would work to restore confidence in the system.

Stewart reminded the audience the Conservative government fell, triggering the election, because: “Mr. Harper would not provide transparent, accountable, honest figures for the cost of the fighter jet programs and the big jails that he wanted to build.”

But Cannan countered by pointing out the Conservatives were the ones to introduce the Accountability Act in 2006, dubbing it “the toughest piece of legislation the government’s ever introduced in Canada.”

He noted the Conservatives did offer up the figures for the jets and jails in the end, though it took Hooper to point out those figures were likely far lower than the actual costs and that the Accountability Act has come under fire for achieving exactly the opposite end.

She also noted her party’s platform, Vision Green, dissects the Accountability Act, showing it actually prevents important documents from being released and “provides for the possibility that wrong-doing, exposed by whistle blowers, could be sealed for up to 15 year under the act.”

The evening was the final all candidates meeting before Monday’s election. Some 60 people attended.


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