NDP candidate David Eby is criticizing Premier Christy Clark for not participating in all-candidate debates for the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election.
“She is running a very stage-managed campaign, lots of photo ops, lots of very carefully managed questions—a very Hollywood approach to campaigning,” Eby told the Straight after a news conference in Kitsilano today (May 4).
Eby, who said he has been doing a lot of door knocking in the area, doesn’t think the premier’s campaign approach will go over well with Vancouver-Point Grey residents.
“I just don’t think it’s going to fly in this neighbourhood,” he said. “It’s a very educated riding, people know what’s happening, they’re paying attention, and people are very upset, they’re telling me at the doorstep.”
A debate in Point Grey is scheduled for tonight, following an all-candidates debate held in the riding Tuesday.
Eby said a proposed debate organized by a health coalition was cancelled when Clark said she wouldn’t attend. Two other media-organized all-candidate debates, including one on Clark’s former radio station CKNW, were also proposed.
Clark’s campaign manager Michele Cadario said the premier decided to hold two town halls with Point Grey residents instead. Clark is holding a telephone town hall tonight, and a live town hall on Friday evening (May 6).
“There was many interest groups that wanted to have debates, and debates about particular issues, and certainly none of the groups that were asking were asking about an issue that wasn’t of importance,” Cadario told the Straight by phone.
“What we wanted to do in the time that we had was try to take advantage of technology, and then also try and say how do we reach as many people in Point Grey as we possibly can,” she added. “We thought this was really one of the best ways to be able to engage every voter in the riding.”
Point Grey residents will be phoned this evening and asked if they want to ask a question as part of the town hall. Cadario said there is a screening process that takes place as part of the electronic town hall, but only to determine the caller’s name and to avoid duplication of questions.
B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix argued Clark is avoiding debate with Eby over “stark differences on environmental questions”.
“Their candidate is avoiding addressing and debating the issues, and it’s no surprise why,” Dix told reporters.
“Talking about environmental issues is really difficult for her, because she’s in favour of tankers off the coast, she’s in favour of the Enbridge pipeline, and she’s in favour of continuing to use the carbon tax to pay for cuts to the bank and corporate taxes,” said Eby.
“Those are tough positions to defend in this neighbourhood.”
Cadario said Clark has been door knocking and meeting with various groups in the Point Grey riding.
“She’s speaking to the Kits chamber of commerce, she’s been doing a number of coffee parties around the riding, she met with the West Broadway business association, Point Grey business association, she’s met with a group of students, she’s met with a group concerned about climate change,” she said. “So she’s definitely getting out there and meeting with a lot of different people.”
Clark’s hour-long town hall will take place for an hour at St. Mark’s church in Vancouver-Point Grey at 7 p.m. this Friday. According to a press release issued today, the town hall will be focused on issues around families, seniors and public safety.