Sparse turnout at chamber's business debate
If there was a knockout punch at the all-candidates federal election business debate on Tuesday (April 19) night, not many would have seen it.
When the buzzer sounded to start the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce debate at the North Kamloops Holiday Inn, only about 45 people were in the audience.
A couple dozen more trickled in throughout the night.
Chamber executive director Deb McClelland said the low turnout wasn’t a surprise, given there was a Canucks-Blackhawks playoff game on that night and the topic of the debate was business-oriented.
McClelland said a business-focused forum is not for everyone, but added the chamber and its members wanted to hear the five candidates’ views on the concerns of the business community.
McCelland also noted the candidates appreciate getting the opportunity to share their views with the business crowd.
The small audience didn’t stop those who would be MP, all of whom were asked questions on a range of business-related topics, from getting down to work themselves.
On the subject of the harmonized sales tax, Conservative candidate Cathy McLeod said her government would respect the choice B.C. residents make if they axe the tax in the summer referendum.
She added a Conservative government would have to sit down with the province to discuss what to do with the $1.6 billion B.C. received for signing onto the HST.
Liberal candidate Murray Todd called the return of the $1.6 billion a “hypothetical” question, adding if the HST is scrapped, his party would deal with it at that time.
NDP candidate Michael Crawford echoed statements by the party’s leader Jack Layton, noting an NDP government would leave the money with B.C.
When asked what the Christian Heritage Party would do to address spiraling health-care costs, candidate Chris Kempling said his party would stop covering abortion procedures under the Canada Health Act.
He called the procedure a “huge expenditure,” claiming it’s the most common surgical practice in the country.
Green candidate Donovan Cavers, who made a point of noting he’s the only current business owner among the five candidates, said his party wants to twin the rail line between Calgary and Vancouver, noting it could be a tourism boon to Kamloops.