Wilks, Stetski spar over debates

Wilks proposes new debate format different from all-candidates forum suggested by Stetski.

David Wilks, the Kootenay-Columbia MP running for reelection, has proposed a new debate format after rejecting a format that was proposed by other political party candidates.

Wilks is inviting other candidates to participate in formal 90-minute debates that are organized by Chambers of Commerce in communities across the riding.

“To facilitate understanding and comparison of the differences between parties, structure and orderly format for candidate dialogue is of paramount importance,” read a written statement from the Re-elect David Wilks MP Committee.

Wilks’ proposal would have ‘non-partisan’ Chambers collect concerns and questions directly from citizens before the debates to create “efficiency and reduce duplication.”

The Wilks camp is proposing the debates to occur between Sept. 21 and Oct. 2.

The announcement from Wilks comes after spurning an All-Candidates debate schedule proposed by New Democrat Party candidate Wayne Stetski a few weeks ago.

Stetski’s debate proposal included forming a committee comprising of one representative of each candidate to work directly with debate organizers to set a schedule for eight forums across the riding.

Under Wilk’s proposal, the consolidation of questions from voters and assembling questions by topic “would allow maximum time for the four candidates to engage in debate.”

Stetski challenged that notion.

“Mr. Wilks says that Chambers of Commerce are the only organizations that can be considered ‘non-partisan. Mr. Wilks goes on to say that all questions must be gathered and vetted first. I don’t believe this is acceptable for an incumbent who wants his job back,” said Stetski.