OUR VIEW: Avoiding forums sends a bad message

We say: We would expect our candidates to face tough questions

The Laura Smith campaign team’s choice to avoid the Council of Canadians’ (COC) all-candidates meeting is an unsettling decision.

Of  course, it doesn’t appear to be something they actually have any choice over. The decision is based on Conservative party all-candidates guidelines which this forum does not appear to meet. Most likely because it’s a leftist organization focussing on topics that are not big on the Tory radar as outlined in a COC press release: “Saving Public Health Care; Defending Democracy; Climate Change/Sustainable Energy Production/Protecting Water; and Ensuring Trade Justice.”

Granted, the COC is far from a politically-neutral organization. Its agenda is decidedly left of centre and the choice of topics is designed to further that agenda by generating discussion and nailing candidates down on their position on these issues.

Presumably, Smith will be attending the Oct. 8 forum co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce (and the Campbell River Mirror and Tidemark Theatre) – a more business-friendly forum that obviously suits her better. She was also invited to the forum last night on First Nations issues run by the We Wai Kum First Nation and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. In addition, yesterday’s seniors centre forum was expecting her as well.

Choosing not to participate in a forum that you don’t agree with is not the kind of representation you hope from your potential federal representative. If you as a constituent come to your Member of Parliament for action on an issue said member does not believe in, you will still expect the MP to represent your interests and take up your cause. If you have a question for your MP on an issue, you certainly wouldn’t stand for a refusal to answer the question because it deals with an issue they don’t support. You would expect an answer.

Well, avoiding an all-candidates forum is the same as saying “I won’t answer that question.” Election campaigns are for getting answers from your candidates. If the questions are uncomfortable, then that’s too bad, your ability to handle them is testament to your skill, open-mindedness and toughness.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of kitchen.