St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney will host an all-candidates forum Oct. 3 dedicated to the environment as part of a national campaign. (Wolf Depner/News)

Organizer of Sidney election forum defend environmental focus

Organizers say the forum won’t be soap box for local MP and federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May

Organizers of an all-candidates debate are defending its exclusive focus on the environment.

The debate for candidates in Saanich-Gulf Islands scheduled for Oct. 3 at St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney will be one of more than 100 debates in ridings across Canada on climate change and the environment. Starting time is 6:30 p.m., running until 9 p.m.

The event is organized by 100 Debates on the Environment. GreenPAC, a “non-partisan, non-profit organization working to elect and support environmental leaders of all major parties running for office,” and Équiterre, a Quebec-based non-profit, are coordinating the project, which describes itself as a “strictly non-partisan initiative focused on bringing voters together at the riding level to hear candidates’ best policy proposals for the environment.”

RELATED: Housing, children, privacy to feature in leaders’ plans on Day 7 of campaign

The question remains though: why organize an entire debate for a singular subject in light of other pressing issues such as housing affordability, global trade, security and immigration among others.

Local co-organizer Jack Thornburgh said “undeniably there are other important issues” that other general all-candidates meetings in Saanich-Gulf Islands and elsewhere will cover.

“The 100 Debates on the Environment are intended as dedicated forums covering environmental issues,” he said. “Wilderness conservation, water protection, toxins in the environment, and more, will all be addressed in these debates — not just climate change and global warming itself.”

So what steps are organizers taking to ensure that the forum does not end up being a soap box or the equivalent of a penalty kick on an empty net for one of the candidates, namely local MP and federal Green party leader Elizabeth May?

“If this were going to be a soap box, or easy penalty kick for the Greens, other parties’ candidates would decline to attend,” said Thornburgh. “That’s not the case, as we have all four major parties confirmed for our forum. Early indications are that the other 100-plus debates across the country are getting a similar broad response from parties across the board.”

Thornburgh acknowledged that May is known for her familiarity with environmental issues. “But Elizabeth is coming to this forum because she’s our elected MP,” he said. “If there were a different Green candidate for our riding, that person would be attending.”

Debates will also take place in the ridings of Victoria, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Subway restaurant robbed at knifepoint

Police ask witnesses to come forward

RCMP to stop providing security for Prince Harry and Meghan

Public safety minister says RCMP has been helping UK police intermittently since November

First arrests made at BC Legislature after demonstrators spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Rummage sale returns to Oak Bay’s Monterey for leap year Saturday

Early dropoffs have rummage sale volunteers busy sorting

Island Food Caring launches program to tackle food insecurities

Victoria Foundation and five local grocers team to launch campaign on Feb. 27

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

What’s happening: Coronavirus forges on, as world hunts solutions

Japan closes all elementary, middle and high schools until spring holidays in late March

RCMP, hereditary chiefs reach deal to end police patrols of Wet’suwet’en lands

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

Should you shave your beard to stop COVID-19? The U.S. CDC has a guide

Facial hair could be a big no-no if COVID-19 reaches pandemic status

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

Most Read