For the first time, an election candidates forum focussing on aboriginal issues has been organized for Cranbrook this week, and is going ahead with the confirmed attendance of four Kootenay-Columbia candidates.
The first All Candidates Debate on Aboriginal Issues is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Ktunaxa Nation Gymnasium in Cranbrook, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event is being organized by two individuals, Rosemary Phillips and Joyce Green.
“[Aboriginal and First Nations] issues are quite distinct issues from the mainstream,” Phillips said. “So there is a real need for the candidates to address that.”
“There’s quite a large aboriginal population here, and we’re just wanting to make sure that people who are concerned about aboriginal issues have that opportunity to look into what the candidates have to say and ask a few questions.”
In attendance will be Bill Green of the Green Party, Don Johnston of the Liberals, Wayne Stetski of the NDP, and David Wilks of the Conservatives.
The public is invited to attend.
Phillips and Green have compiled a list of some broad issues and concerns, and sent the list out to the candidates, so they could prepare in advance. “They’re each going to initially get three minutes to address each one of those issues. Once that segment is over, we’re going to have questions from the floor, either in regard to what the candidates have said, or not — just a general opportunity to ask questions.
Joe Pierre Jr. will serve as moderator, and will make sure the questions are relevant and appropriate, Phillips said.
The Ktunaxa Nation gynasium is located at the Ktunaxa Nation Council building, 220 Cranbrook Street North.