The virtual All Candidates forum – Randi Amendt, the chamber manager and organizer, moderator Laura Blackwell of Lakes District News and candidates John Rustad, Dan Stuart, Anne Marie Sam and Margo Maley. (Lakes District News)

The virtual All Candidates forum – Randi Amendt, the chamber manager and organizer, moderator Laura Blackwell of Lakes District News and candidates John Rustad, Dan Stuart, Anne Marie Sam and Margo Maley. (Lakes District News)

Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce hosts an All Candidates forum

The forum was held virtually with questions from the community coming in live

Provincial election candidates for the Nechako Lakes riding got together virtually for an All Candidates forum organized by the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 6.

The incumbent B.C. Liberal MLA John Rustad, NDP candidate Anne Marie Sam, Independent candidate Margo Maley, Christian Heritage Party of B.C.’s Dan Stuart and BC Libertarian Party’s Jon Rempel are the five candidates standing for elections in the riding.

Over the two hour long discussion, four of the five candidates who were in on the All Candidates forum, excluding Rempel, fielded a wide range of questions on topics ranging from lack of housing supply, homeless situation to what the candidates would do if elected, about the issue over the Office of Wet’suwet’en Memorandum of Understanding where the elected leaders have expressed concern about lack of transparency.

During the discussions on some of the hot-button issues like the moose harvest, tourism, Anne Marie Sam pointed out the things that the NDP was doing to help on the issue while John Rustad pointed out to the things that the NDP has not been doing or has been doing incorrectly according to him. While these discussions were not in the form of rebuttals and were civil, these were the only times when any candidates on the online platform indulged in something synonymous to a debate.

Anne Marie Sam indicated that the moose harvest was not something new and the licenses were given out only in the Caribou-protected areas and “there is misinformation given out about this that the NDP are allowing it to happen, we are actually reducing the numbers, and I hope to see this misinformation is stopped.”

John Rustad, who has been a strong voice against the moose harvest said, “Anne Marie Sam said that the NDP’s move of killing the cow calves was to support Caribou and to help Caribou; but there is no science to suggest this would help Caribou. If you look at the reduction of moose around the province, this needs to stop. It needed to stop years ago and it doesn’t matter who is in power. We need to have a true plan for wildlife across the province particularly for angulets and there has to be a predator program to allow for Caribou as well as Moose to recover.”

Maley stood in support of Rustad’s point of view on this and while Dan Stuart didn’t have anything to say to this issue, he did mention when it came to tourism and opening up of the economy that he believed it was time that people stopped being scared of the virus.

“This so-called pandemic is a scam. Yes, people have died but most of them had underlying issues and every year during the flu season, same thing happens, the only difference with this flu that we have, children haven’t been as affected as elderly. My thing is to help businesses get back to normal and we have a virus which is called fear and the government, media, everybody needs to get back on track and make people understand that it is not something that is going to march down the street and kill you. You might get sick, and you might not but everybody locks themselves at their home. So get rid of the fear and businesses can get back to business,” he said.

Maley, who is also all for opening up the economy, also stood very strongly for seeing the need for a revenue-sharing model as despite most resources like logging or mining done in this area, the area doesn’t get enough revenue for it. She also said that “for the resources that are leaving our communities, this government shouldn’t have a say — we have more than enough resources travelling out of our area down the highway and most of our revenue just goes in the coffers and we have no ability to access them.”

Amidst some tinkering with the new format of conducting and attending a forum online, the four candidates indulged in a civil discussion over several other questions posed by the community. The video of the forum is still available on the chamber’s Facebook page divided in Part 1 and Part 2.

Today is the last day for Advance Voting. The general voting will take place on Oct. 24. For Burns Lake and surrounding area will take place at Island Gospel Fellowship, Francois Lake Community Hall, Grassy Plains Hall, Trout Creek Community Hall and Decker Lake Elementary School. For Granisle, the general voting will take place at the Granisle Sr. Community Centre on 19 Champman St. and two other locations for people living in Topley or between Topley and Burns Lake are at the Rose Lake Hall and Topley Community Hall.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

Like us on Facebook and follows us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Lake Babine Nation closure sign
Lake Babine Nation issues COVID numbers update

Urges members to follow provincial health orders

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read