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Election 2015: Debates heat up federal election

Cranbrook and Kimberley set to host four local debates in the coming weeks.

Though the election writ was dropped back in early August, it hasn't really felt like election season has hit.

Until now.

Fresh off a debate by a trio of federal party leaders last week in Calgary, local candidates vying for the seat in the riding of Kootenay Columbia are set to being their debate circuits.

Incumbent David Wilks (Conservative Party) is running against Wayne Stetski (NDP), Don Johnston (Liberal), Bill Green (Green Party) and Christina Yahn (Libertarian Party).

Many communities across the region are hosting debates sponsored by the Chambers of Commerce, and Cranbrook and Kimberley are no different.

While it may have been a controversial subject earlier in the summer, debates have been scheduled in area, and all candidates have confirmed their attendance at some of them.

The Chamber debate in Cranbrook—the first forum that was officially scheduled for Oct. 7—will focus on the economy and address issues that affect business locally, provincially and nationally, according to David D. Hull, the executive director of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce.

Breaking down the subjects, the discussion will focus on access to a powerful workforce, capital, technology and innovation and markets. Roughly 20 questions will be submitted in advance to each candidate to allow for time to research any background and consult with party platforms.

There will also be a chance for the audience to submit written questions which will be presented to the candidates over the course of the forum.

The event will start with opening remarks chosen randomly from all four candidates and will end with closing statements in reverse order from how it started.

An interesting element to the event includes the use of rebuttal cards.

Each candidate will be issued five 30-second rebuttal cards to use as they see fit.

Kimberley's Chamber-sponsored debate will be hosted by Centre 64 on Sept. 30.

However, the first debate coming up is the First Nations forum on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Ktunaxa Nation gymnasium. Moderated by Joe Pierre, the candidates will discuss and debate First Nations issues.

Also on the debate itinerary is a JCI event on Oct. 6th at the Key City Theatre.


Debate Schedule


First Nations debate

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Ktunaxa Nation gymnasium

6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

*Four out of five candidates have confirmed attendance.


Kimberley Chamber of Commerce forum

Wednesday Sept. 30

Centre 64

7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

*All candidates attending.


JCI Debate

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Key City Theatre

7 p.m.

*Four out of five candidates have confirmed attendance.


Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce forum

Wednesday, Oct. 7

Heritage Inn

7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

*All candidates attending.


Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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