BC Liberals absence focus of Nanaimo all-candidate meeting

By Spencer Sterritt
April 19, 2017 - 11:32am Updated: April 19, 2017 - 5:19pm

The empty BC Liberal table was an often-used piece of symbolism in the all-candidate meeting on Tuesday, April 18. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW Staff

It was a packed house at Dover Bay Secondary School, with more chairs needing to be added by staff. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW Staff

NANAIMO — A provincial all-candidates meeting in Nanaimo meant to focus on education instead turned into a lecture against the only major party not there.

None of the three mid-island BC Liberal candidates attended the Tuesday night forum at Dover Bay Secondary hosted by the Nanaimo District Teachers' Association.

All three BC NDP and Green Party candidates were in attendance.

“Over here at this empty table is the absolute symbol of an arrogant government that deserves to be defeated,” NDP Nanaimo incumbent Leonard Krog said at the top of his opening remarks.

A mix of questions from the crowd and moderator elicited several negative responses from the candidates toward the BC Liberals' record on education.

NanaimoNewsNOW reached out to the BC Liberal candidates for comment about their absence.

Derek Cummings with Paris Gaudet's campaign said they had decided on three all-candidate meetings throughout the campaign and this wasn't one of them.

Valerie Richmond, part of Michelle Stilwell's camp, said they had a scheduling conflict and couldn't attend.

John Moody with Alana DeLong's campaign said they were out doorknocking at the time of the event. 

According to candidate representatives, organizers had been informed about the absence several days in advance but a table and placards were still set up at the front of the room.

The relationship between B.C. teachers and the provincial government has been tense over the last decade thanks to a contract dispute which was recently settled in court.


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