Candidates on the North Coast had one last chance to collectively face the public, though this time not all in attendance were potential voters.
Green Party candidate Hondo Arendt, Liberal candidate Judy Fraser and NDP candidate Jennifer Rice participated in an all-candidates forum hosted by the CHSS Library as well as the CHSS Debating and Public Speaking Society during the lunch break on May 10 and were greeted by a room full of young people. The forum, however, was more of an informal session with each candidate introducing themselves before allowing time to the students to socialize with the would-be MLAs on a more personal level.
First to speak was Jennifer Rice, who spoke about the need for “change that restores trust in government”.
“Young people tell me they are disillusioned with the political system, and that concerns me. It tells me we need to rethink politics… I think young people want leadership, not partisanship. They want to see their leaders work together to move the province forward,” she said before turning her attention to the economy and the environment.
“I believe we can have a prosperous economy with a sustainable environment. I don’t believe we need to have one or the other… The argument of pipelines or poverty is a falsehood.”
Next up was Judy Fraser who, after discussing her involvement in the community, said she didn’t want to see the students have to leave town for work like her son did.
“I would work for more skills training at Northwest Community College. But if we don’t have jobs, then all we are doing is training people to leave and go work in Alberta… We need to have someone who isn’t just going to say no to everything,” she said, pointing out economic turnaround is already underway.
“I’m seeing more and more young people moving back into Prince Rupert as the economy improves because there are jobs here.”
Last up was Hondo Arendt, who said economic growth wasn’t the biggest issue in this election.
“By the 1990s that was not the problem, Canada had enough wealth to go around… Oh course you need jobs and of course you need economy, but those are not the problems facing this generation,”he said, alluding to greenhouse gas emissions and the atmospheric impact of pollution.
“The Green Party is the youngest party, we’re the newest but we also have the youngest membership. The Green Party comes from a new generation that is facing a new set of problems.”