Fireworks, Stilwell absent

Parksville Qualicum Beach MLA candidates — minus an ill Michelle Stilwell — meet for a forum at The Gardens in Qualicum Beach

Conservative candidate David Coupland and NDP candidate Barry Avis were at The Gardens in Qualicum Beach Friday.

With only two out of the three declared candidates on hand to answer questions from the crowd, Friday’s all-candidates forum at The Gardens in Qualicum Beach lacked a whole lot of fire, with NDP candidate Barry Avis and B.C. Conservative candidate David Coupland agreeing more often than locking horns.

Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell excused herself from the event, citing flu-like symptoms and a concern for the well-being of the residents in the retirement home.

After moderator Phil Spencer from St. Stephen’s United Church laid down the ground rules, Avis and Coupland took different approaches in their opening statements, with Avis emphasizing his experience in various forms of local governance, including nine years as a town councillor, as well as serving on the board of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) and the Vancouver Island Library board.

“Since I moved to Qualicum Beach with my wife in 1999, I’ve spent my last 11 years preparing myself to become your MLA,” he said.

Coupland took a different tack, noting his experience working in the fields of health and education and emphasizing the potential for a brighter future in the province, but only if B.C. elects to go with a different style of governance.

“I believe B.C. has the potential to lead Canada with a future of success and opportunity,” he said. “However I’ve come to realize that without better government this may not happen.”

Although the bulk of the meeting was collegial, there were several points where the candidates’ positions differed widely.

One of these involved the divisive Northern Gateway pipeline issue.

Coupland said the oil bought by China will make its way there one way or another and it’s in B.C.’s interest that it be moved in the safest, most cost-effective manner — which is a pipeline.

“It could be put on a rail car and  taken to the coast legally and we would have to  break all sorts of international laws and treaties to stop it,” he said. “We have to rethink our positions in that regard. It’s going to go, so what’s the safest way that’s in the best long-term interest of British Columbia?”

Avis said that while he doesn’t support a pipeline going west from Alberta, and thence to Asia, he thinks it would be better to send the oil east.

“We’ve been clear we are not in favour of a pipeline going to Kitimat from Alberta,” he said. “We are in favour of using our resources and I would be in favour of a refinery in Alberta. We don’t send enough oil back east and they are getting it from other countries. We should be keeping the oil in Canada and having more secondary manufacturing.”

In response to a question about the voting system in B.C., Coupland got in the closest thing to a shot during the back and forth, when Avis said NDP leader Adrian Dix had pledged that MLAs can vote their conscience.

“If you don’t have it in writing it doesn’t mean anything,” Coupland responded. “We have it in writing that our MLAs are free to vote in the interest of their constituents. You can say whatever you want, but when the moment of truth arrives, you will have to toe the party line.”

Just Posted

Oceanside Generals stun Victoria, 3-2

Junior B club snaps seven-year losing streak to Cougars

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moving to new job with RDN

Coming to Canada ‘like a dream’

Syrian family meets volunteers, councillor after living in Parksville for one month

Parksville MakerSpace members ride the rails

New room added for model train enthusiasts; workshop set for Jan. 21

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read