Two of three Cariboo Chilcotin candidates to attend Thursday's forum

The NDP's Sally Watson (left) and the Green Party of B.C.'s Rita Giesbrecht will be participating in an all candidates forum in Williams Lake at the Gibraltar Room on Thursday, April 20 beginning at 7 p.m.
— image credit: Angie Mindus/Monica Lamb-Yorski photos

Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal incumbent Donna Barnett has declined an offer to attend an all-candidates forum hosted this week by the Council of Canadians Williams Lake Chapter.

Rita Giesbrecht (Green) and Sally Watson (NDP), however, will be participating in the forum taking place Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room.

Barnett’s campaign office in Williams Lake confirmed Monday that Barnett has declined because she is “fully booked.”

“We are very disappointed Donna is not participating,” said Bette McLennan, who is organizing the forum on behalf of the COC along with the Social Planning Council and the BC Council for International Co-operation.

“We initially requested to all the Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates back in February that they attend,” McLennan said. “We gave Donna Barnett’s office the date, I talked to the Liberals’ head office and they said they’d be on it.”

After repeated tries and not hearing back, McLennan said eventually she received a message on her phone stating Barnett was “fully booked” and would not be able to attend.

“Our request was in long before anyone else’s,” McLennan added.

The forum will focus on topics that stem from the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Local speakers will address one topic such as poverty, forestry jobs, local economic sustainable growth and low environmental standards and lack of monitoring.

“Each speaker will talk for a maximum of five minutes about the topic and how it relates to the Williams Lake area and then ask the candidates a question on the topic,” McLennan said. “We will then open it up to the audience to ask questions.”

Residents will also have a brief opportunity to talk with the candidates one-on-one after the forum, McLennan said.

The forum will run  about 90 minutes.

Barnett did not return repeated requests by the Tribune for comment.

She is, although, expected to participate in the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce’s all-candidates forum Thursday, April 27, along with Watson and Giesbrecht, confirmed executive director Claudia Blair.

The forum begins at 11:15 a.m. during the chamber’s regular monthly meeting and is advanced tickets only — $19 for members and $25 for non-members.

All candidates in the Cariboo North riding are scheduled to attend a forum in Likely on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. at the Likely Community Hall.  Advance questions for the candidates may be submitted to Joan Sorley,

Written questions submitted from those in attendance will also be accepted.

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