Former MP Stockwell Day came back to Penticton to give a speech in support of Helena Konanz, who is running for one of the districts that was formed out of the one Day used to represent. Konanz recently challenged the other candidates in the South Okanagan - West Kootenay riding to attend a series of debates. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Don’t ‘hijack the process’: South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates fire back

Conservative candidate Helena Konanz issued a challenge to the other candidates in the riding

The federal election is months away, but candidates in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding are already bickering.

Earlier this week, Conservative candidate Helena Konanz issued a challenge to the other candidates in the riding to a “comprehensive set of debates” that would span the entire riding leading up to the election in October.

READ MORE: Konanz wins the federal Conservative nomination

“We should have a full slate of debates that cover the entire riding and I am committed to attending every single one. We shall see if Justin Trudeau’s candidate or our NDP opponent agree with me,” said Konanz in a news release.

Konanz proposed the creation of a committee that includes one representative from each campaign who can work with debate organizers from community-based groups to schedule a series of debates throughout the riding.

“My campaign will be reaching out to all the other campaigns to make this a reality. I firmly believe that democracy should be accessible to all citizens. Time will tell if my opponents feel the same way,” said Konanz.

READ MORE: Denesiuk announced as the Liberal candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk was the first to issue a response.

“It strikes me as ironic that the Conservative candidate has issued a democratic challenge that in its essence robs our community organizations, schools and issue-based groups of their voices and important role in shaping the conversation in this election,” said Denesiuk.

Denesiuk added that she already expects there will be close to two dozen organized debates without Konanz trying to “hijack the process.”

READ MORE: Greens choose Rosslander to represent them in the federal election

“I’m glad to hear the Conservatives plan to participate this time. They skipped most of them in 2015,” she said.

Tara Howse, the Green party candidate, said she is up to the challenge, however, took some issue with the wording Konanz chose to use.

“I am not particularly fond of the language or how it was worded, but that is coming from my community organizer background. I would have gone about it differently, but ultimately the end goal is the same that we want to ensure we are all heard across the riding,” said Howse.

READ MORE: NDP Cannings ready to step into new riding

She added that she hopes the intention is not the “hijack” what community groups are planning and appreciates a more environmentally sensitive schedule that would see a more co-ordinated travel schedule.

Incumbent Richard Cannings, who represents the NDP party, also noted that he is happy to hear a Conservative candidate is planning to attend all the forums this time around.

“I think in 2015 we had 20 forums that everyone was invited to. I went to all 20 and the Conservative candidate went to 10, as I recall. I am just happy to see the Conservatives have decided they are going to attend and we won’t have an empty chair beside us,” said Cannings in response to Konanz’ challenge.

Cannings said, for the most part, having community organizations and chambers of commerce’s have worked out well in the past and he doesn’t believe a special committee needs to be set up as Konanz suggested. He also said he did not appreciate some of the comments from the Conservatives and Konanz.

“I’ve been a little disappointed with some of the wording of the Conservative messages on Facebook and things like that, but that’s politics what can I say? I try to stay positive. If I don’t think their policies are good, then I will talk about policies. I know both Connie and Helena and we get along well, so I will keep personal attacks out of it for sure. I try to be fair on my comments on policy, that is the way I work anyways,” said Cannings.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP: Appledale homicide investigation still active

A 59-year-old man was found dead on May 20

RDCK appoints new regional fire chief

Nora Hannon has been acting head of the fire service since the old chief’s departure in the summer

Promoter fundraises for new Kootenay Country Music Fest

UPDATED: Travis Pangburn has de-activated the $150,000 Gofundme campaign

Kaslo commits to 100 per cent renewable energy plan

Nine local governments have made the pledge this year

Storm prompts travel warning for Boundary, West Kootenay

Up to 25 cm expected on high mountain passes

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read