I attended two of the all-candidates forums for the Prince George/Cariboo riding prior to the election, one at Trinity United Church and one at UNBC.
I was more than a little impressed with the quality of candidates that put their names forward in my riding. The five that attended showed a good grasp of the issues we face, knew their party platforms on those issues and presented those thoughts clearly. The lone independent running did not make an appearance at those two debates.
The issues are many, they are conflicting and the solutions vary greatly from one political philosophy to another. So many of them were a country mile from each other in their view of the issues but each of the candidates explained clearly how their party would move us forward on the many and varied questions thrown at them. Each of them showed tremendous respect for the right of the candidate who had the floor to present their thoughts without interference or negative reaction.
What a breath of fresh air compared to the national debates that quickly deteriorated into name calling, shouting over each other and refusing to allow the other candidates to verbalize their policies.
I can only hope that with the minority government we now have that some of the listening abilities displayed in Prince George will be adopted by the party leaders.
Our candidates answered all of the questions well without lowering themselves to putting down their opposition or jumping off topic into an area where they felt they might score some political points. Many times they were honest in saying they really didn't know enough about the particular issue to make much of a comment.
I found it refreshing and encouraging that of the five candidates who came out to those debates, four were women. One of those women candidates, Mackenzie Kerr, is a young university student and the PPC candidate is originally from China. Women, ethnic diversity and youth are not taking a back seat here.
My congratulations go out to Todd Doherty for his decisive win but my thanks, respect and appreciation also go out to the other candidates who fought the good fight. They all represented themselves, their political party and their political beliefs exceptionally well. Be proud of yourselves.