ELECTION 2015: Wilks declines debate committee invite

July 17th marked the deadline for Kootenay-Columbia NDP candidate Wayne Stetski’s challenge to his opposing candidates.

July 17th marked the deadline for Kootenay-Columbia NDP candidate Wayne Stetski’s challenge to his opposing candidates.

Stetski wanted each candidate to nominate a member of their team to join a debate committee, which would co-ordinate debates in each of the eight major communities across the riding. Liberal candidate Don Johnston and Green candidate Bill Green quickly agreed to support the project, making Conservative David Wilks the lone stand-out.

“I am not going to move forward with an NDP suggestion,” Wilks said. “If that is what the NDP want to do, they should do that. That is their strategy, not mine.”

The end result of the committee is to have each candidate attend debates in Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook, Fernie, Creston and Nelson.

In 2011, Wilks attended only three of the seven debates, missing the event in Invermere.

“We will use the same strategy as we did in 2011, which was a winning strategy,” Wilks said, noting that he earned 57.9 per cent of the vote.

Ultimately, Wilks said he is busy with work as an MP, but he will focus on the election after the writ is dropped, which will happen between late August and early September.

Wilks’ lack of participation has not halted the debate committee. Representatives of each candidate met over the weekend to share knowledge about prospective debates and co-ordinate schedules.

“I do not get a sense that there is a reluctance to continue because the rest of us at the table all believe that as many people as possible in this riding should get the chance to see all of the candidates, preferably in one place at one time,” Johnston said.

Johnston thinks Wilks does not see eye-to-eye with the rest of the candidates on this issue because he is overly cynical about the potential of debates to win over undecided voters.

“Despite some of the things that Mr. Wilks says about the majority of people (at debates) already having made up their mind, I know as a voter I go to those debates every time, and I have never gone into them with an agenda,” Johnston said.

“I have gone to them to get a sense of who was there and what they are bringing to the table.”

Stetski likened the debates to interviews. He added that Wilks should not assume that, just because he won once, he will perpetually continue

to win.

“Ducking debates is simply not good enough,” Stetski said. “The incumbent is asking for his job back, and he has a responsibility to stand beside other candidates and answer questions posed to him by voters.”

Further, Johnston questioned whether Wilks’ approach to debates is the product of his party’s stance.

“I frankly wonder if the Conservatives simply do not want their candidates out there in unscripted situations, where a real voter might ask a real question,” Johnston said.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read