NO, REALLY: Just one all-candidates meeting left before election

I’m not sure the candidates had time to wolf down the delightful lunch as the rest of us dined

Good on the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce for holding one of the few  all-candidates meetings in the city.

Wednesday’s luncheon meeting was a packed house upstairs at the Royal Coachman as candidates were thoroughly quizzed on small business-related affairs for almost two hours.

I’m not sure the candidates had time to wolf down the delightful lunch as the rest of us dined on salads, steamed veggies and chicken cordon bleu. But that’s small business folk – they keep politicians on their toes.

I thought NDP incumbent Claire Trevena and Liberal hopeful Nick Facey provided the best answers.

Both are well-drilled in current party policy and both well-acquainted with the riding, its history, and our various wants and needs.

It’s hard to say who had the edge. Trevena is the more polished speaker, but Facey and the Liberals have a lot of support in the business community.

Bob Bray, candidate for the new BC Conservative Party, is a knowledgeable and nice guy. But he needs to learn more about the riding and he’s disadvantaged because a lot of his party policy is evolving with the campaign.

Ah well, we’ll find out on May 14.

Actually, I over-stated the “few” all-candidates meetings.

Two would be precise.

The only other all-candidates forum is taking place on Monday at the seniors centre, located at Campbell River Common mall. The meeting is open to everyone. And – drum roll please – for a mere $8, you get homemade lasagna and ribs, dessert and tea or coffee. Dinner’s from 5-6 p.m., meeting after – good deal!

Stop by the centre today and get your ticket so the chefs can get a head-start this weekend.

It’s a little disappointing there isn’t an all-candidates forum taking place in a larger venue, but then it’s hard to know if enough people would show up to fill 300-400 seats. During Wednesday’s forum, Bray pointed out that in the last provincial election, just 40 per cent of eligible voters in the North Island riding actually voted.

That’s sad and pathetic, and Bray, to his credit, is encouraging more people to vote.

And on the subject of more voters, the two high schools in Port McNeill and Port Hardy hosted all-candidates meetings last week. As well, chambers of commerce in the two North Island communities also hosted public forums for the candidates.

Unfortunately, in Campbell River, there are no scheduled all-candidates meetings for either public high school. And that’s not the choice of the candidates – all they needed was an invitation.

Someone is interested in politics at the secondary level. I do know that because this week students were encouraged to vote on the Mirror’s online poll to support the Robron field project and we had one of our biggest responses ever.

Good for the students and I hope they’re are just as motivated to vote when they reach 18.

paulr@campbellrivermirror.com