Candidates running in Kootenay West had a last chance to deliver their message at an all candidates forum on Wednesday night.
The forum was held by the Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce at the Sandman Hotel and attracted a small crowd of approximately 50 people.
Those in attendance contributed their questions in writing, directing queries to a specific candidate who then had two minutes to answer. Each candidate also had three rebuttal cards, which they could use to rebut for one minute.
The majority of the questions related to climate change and the environment, including one of the questions directed at Liberal candidate Jim Postnikoff: “Our greenhouse gas emissions are rising and we are not expected to meet our 2020 legislative targets. What will your government do to get us back on track?”
In response, Postnikoff proposed pursuing electric car manufacturing in B.C.
“We should offer either some subsidies or look at getting Tesla, or whoever else makes electric cars, to come and set up a facility in British Columbia,” he said.
There were also a good number of questions relating to the current political system, including rules around party donations.
BC Greens candidate Samantha Troy was asked what her party’s stance is on electoral reform and she said the BC Greens support it.
“The BC Greens support reform of proportional representation,” she said. “We have not committed to any definitive form of proportional representation. We do not think it’s a wheel that needs to be recreated. There are many jurisdictions in the world that are successfully using a form of proportional representation to elect their officials. I would like to see this provincially, as would the Greens.”
Earlier in the debate, Postnikoff had been asked how he could defend his party’s fundraising practices, but he was unable to answer.
“I don’t really know what the fundraising practices of my party are. I would have to get back to you. I don’t have all the answers,” he said.
Katrine Conroy, incumbent and NDP candidate, understood what the question was getting at, and used a rebuttal card to say that the NDP are going to ban corporate and union donations in B.C.
“We’re going to make sure that what is done in B.C. is that elections are run by individuals’ donations. We are also going to ensure that we have a good government that works for British Columbians,” she said. “We are taking donations from everybody now because that’s the way it is in B.C.”
Troy also used a rebuttal card, pointing out that the B.C. Greens announced in September that they will no longer be accepting corporate or union donations.
“It’s the action that speaks louder than the words there, and the Green Party has led, very clearly, by actions,” she said.
There were also questions addressing health care, including the ongoing fentanyl crisis.
Conroy was asked, “What would your government do to stop the fentanyl crisis? Higher punishment?”
Her answer included introducing legislation to ban pill presses and creating a new ministry.
“We will actually create a Mental Health and Addictions Ministry, separate from the Ministry of Health, to ensure that we’re putting services into the mental health and addictions,” she said.
Voting day is Tuesday, May 9. Voting places will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
ALL CANDIDATES FORUM BY THE NUMBERS
Questions per candidate
Questions for Katrine Conroy, NDP: 11
Questions for Jim Postnikoff, Liberal: 8
Questions for Samantha Troy, Green: 7
Questions by category
Climate change and environment: 8
Elections — reform, fundraising: 4
Economic opportunities: 2
Site C Dam: 2
Budget and finance: 1