Hosted by the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Port McNeill Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, the All Candidates Forum was held at the Gate House Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
Candidates attending the meeting were Rachel Blaney (NDP), Mark de Bruijn (Green), Shelley Downey (Conservative), Brian Rundle (PPC), and Peter Schwarzhoff (Liberal). Carla Neal and Glen Staples did not attend.
This was the only election forum scheduled for Port McNeill and there were approximately 70 people there to listen to what each candidate had to say. Expectations were mixed, with more than 50 per cent indicating they had yet to make up their minds, and the rest wanting to hear what their chosen candidate had to say.
The forum, which lasted for over two hours, offered each candidate an opportunity to lay out their platform, after which the audience had an opportunity to pose questions.
One question from the audience tackled the diverse and lengthy platform and policy issues by asking each candidate to explain – in one sentence – what their primary focus would be, if elected?
Rundle stated he’d focus on, “developing a strong resource economy in fisheries and forestry.”
Blaney spoke of the need, “to invest in infrastructure that would continue to open access for communities.”
de Bruijn felt, “using our natural resources in a sustainable way.” would be his key focus. Peter Schwarzhoff (Lib) wanted to see, “the development of a responsible transition to closed-containment acqua-culture.”
And Downey wanted, “our resource sector to focus on growth in a responsible manner.”
Another question from the audience continued the theme of narrowing down the complexity of national issues by asking candidates to briefly describe what the top accomplishment of their party should be by the end of the next term.
Downey stated, “be on track to eliminating the deficit within 5 years.”
Rundle wanted to see, “a pipeline built across the country.”
For Blaney, it would be, “affordability in education and housing.”
de Bruijn spoke of, “a cross party cabinet that was able to find a way to reduce emissions.”
And Schwarzhoff felt, “having been able to help the average person,” would be a great accomplishment.
Advance polling takes place in Port McNeill between Oct. 11 and 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Port McNeill Community Centre.
On Election Day – Oct. 21 – Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Sunset Elementary School. If you aren’t already registered to vote, you can visit the Elections Canada office located at 1584 Broughton Boulevard – Suite 3.
– Bill McQuarrie article