Its happening all over BC. Liberals running for election are saying no to participating in debates. This strategy occurred in to the 2001 election after a Liberal hopeful agreed that the tax cuts could not pay for themselves.
This time out the usual suspects in running debates are missing in some areas. For the second election in row the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has decided not to hold a debate in the interior's biggest city.
It should be noted that the Chamber has made it clear on several recent occasions that they are endorsing Liberal Sindi Hawkins in all but name. The Chamber told Kelowna Capital News Saturday, April 30 that they felt the debate was becoming more of a community function and not one for their members, so they will not be going ahead with the debate.
Yet Chambers across BC have and are going ahead with these debates just for the reason that it is a place for all citizens to learn where the candidates stand on the issues. These Chambers do so generally as a civic duty.
There is one public debate being held in Kelowna this election and it is being held by the Seniors Centre in Rutland. Liberal Sindi Hawkins has said she is unavailable due to a family commitment. There will be no other debate in our city.
The local radio station CKOV, has still to confirm they will do an onair debate for the Kelowna Mission riding despite several attempts to find out. The station has held a debate for the Kelowna Lake-country riding and has scheduled the Okanagan Westside debate for Monday, May 2.
If a debate for Kelowna Mission does go ahead on CKOV I will post the information here.
see more on Liberals avoiding debates here in the TC
Liberal hopefuls were no-shows at three public forums in Victoria, Qualicum Beach and Parksville last week, which makes at least six they've declined to attend in the early days of the campaign. Liberal candidates cite scheduling conflicts, but the NDP and event organizers accuse the Liberals of ducking average voters in favor of elitist $50-a-plate events sponsored by business groups.