OP/ED: IntegrityBC's all-candidates challenge to party leaders
IntegrityBC is issuing a challenge to every party leader in B.C.: attend at least one all-candidates’ meeting in your constituency in advance of the May 14th general election.
The organization issued the challenge following Premier Christy Clark’s decision not to attend any all-candidates’ meetings in her riding of Vancouver-Point Grey during the campaign.
“Some party leaders will be more focused on winning their riding, others the province, but it’s not too much to ask that each find three hours to attend at least one all-candidates’ meeting with their fellow candidates before voters cast their ballot,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.
In the May 2011 Vancouver-Point Grey byelection Premier Christy Clark did not attend a single all-candidates’ meeting.
A November 2011 Oraclepoll Research public opinion survey, commissioned by IntegrityBC, found that seventy per cent of respondents had a more unfavourable opinion of Clark for refusing to participate in a single all-candidates’ meeting. Ninety-two per cent agreed that it is important for candidates to attend all candidates meetings during elections to answer questions from voters.
IntegrityBC is also calling on organizers of all-candidates’ meetings across B.C. to invite every candidate in their riding who is officially registered with Elections BC. Every registered candidate has as much right to participate at an all-candidates’ meeting as the Liberal, NDP, Green or Conservative candidates.
“When groups organizing all-candidates’ meetings make arbitrary decisions about which ideas or candidates are important in an election and which are not, it contributes to the ever rising cynicism that is gaining far too much traction in B.C.,” said Travis who noted that nearly half of all eligible voters in B.C. didn’t vote in 2009.
“Every candidate has a message that they care deeply about and voters have a right to hear it. That’s how democracy works. It might be messy, it might require a longer head table, but it’s that’s how our system is meant to work.”
This article is a press release from IntegrityBC.