Voter wants to hear from federal candidates

by Phil Ambroziak

The 42nd Canadian general election is only weeks away and some people still don’t know who they’re going to vote for.

At least that’s how RM of Meadow Lake resident Jim Wolffe feels considering the shortage of all candidates forums scheduled throughout the Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River riding. While Missinippi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has invited the five federal hopefuls to appear on the air from their La Ronge studio Oct. 8, various campaign representatives have confirmed there’s no such event planned for Meadow Lake or other parts of the constituency. Wolffe believes this is unfair for potential voters who may not be up-to-speed with what each candidate or their respective parties stand for.

“I’ve been asking around about who might be hosting one, but I haven’t heard anything back,” Wolffe explained. “I know Tara Million, the former head librarian in Meadow Lake, organized one a few years ago, but she’s long gone from the community and I haven’t heard anything about the library doing anything for this election.”

Wolffe also contacted the Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce with his concern, as such groups in other parts of the province have been known to host all candidates events for federal, provincial and municipal elections. This, however, is not the case in Meadow Lake.

“We’re not hosting an all candidates forum because we just don’t have the manpower to do so,” stated Chamber administrator Donna Ritco. “Unfortunately, the time needed is too much for our executive at this time.”

This was also the case in April 2011 when the Meadow Lake Library hosted an all candidates forum in the Chamber’s place. Prior to this, the Chamber hosted a similar event leading up to the October 2008 federal vote.

Although he openly admits he supports one of the candidates, Wolffe said it’s important for all candidates to have an opportunity to get their messages out. While some have been doing so by attending other public functions or going door-to-door to speak directly with members of the public, Wolffe said an all candidates night could help stir up some interest in the election and get more people to head to the polls Oct. 19.

“Meadow Lake is the largest community in the riding, but we’re not going to do anything like this?” he remarked. “That’s too bad. It reflects poorly on our community when the only thing people really have to go on is the number of election signs they see and word-of-mouth on the street.”

He went on to reiterate the importance of enlightening the public to the issues Canadians face at the national level, something he feels some people are unfamiliar with.

“The more knowledge that’s out there, the better informed the public is and the better government we’re going to have,” he said.

The five candidates looking to represent Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the House of Commons following this month’s election include incumbent Conservative Rob Clarke, the NDP’s Georgina Jolibois, Liberal Lawrence Joseph, Warren Koch of the Green Party and Libertarian Raymond Beament.

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