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

New system to keep Nakusp-area snowmobilers, caribou from meeting

GPS tracking keeps caribou safe while opening up the backcountry for sledding

Weather warning for West Kootenay passes

Up to 20 cm expected to fall at higher elevations

Two accidents block Hwy 3 east of Christina Lake

Fire chief: pregnant female in vehicle that rolled off the road was headed to Trail to have her baby

November in West Kootenay saw only third of normal precipitation

Stalled weather system lingered over region

Basin economic snapshot shows Kootenay a mixed bag

State of the Basin report shows economic recovery from recession a slow go

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

University of Victoria researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Most Read