Nipawin cancels federal election forum due to lack of candidate participation

A planned federal candidate forum in Nipawin was cancelled because not enough candidates would confirm their attendance, the Chamber of Commerce says.

A planned candidate forum in Nipawin has been cancelled after only two candidates would confirm attendance. 

Liberal candidate Estelle Hjertaas, one other unnamed candidate confirmed on Friday that they would attend, but the Chamber opted to cancel as not a broad enough representation would be on hand, Nipawin and District Chamber of Commerce president Ben Paskaruk said.

“Because we didn’t have full representation of all the candidates, we decided it would not be in anyone’s interest to do a forum without all points of view being represented,” he said. “We need to be impartial and giving a platform to everybody that deserves it.”

The Chamber heard that the timing of Sept. 8 was just too close to the Prince Albert forum on Sept. 7.

Instead, the Nipawin Chamber will use the Prince Albert forum as a launchpad and direct a few questions from residents of Nipawin to the candidates here. 

“We’ll do our best if any of our membership has any questions, we will get them forwarded through,” said Paskaruk. “If our membership has any pertinent questions to ask, we’ll make sure those get forwarded.”

Members of the Nipawin Chamber will get an email on how they can access the Prince Albert forum. 

The Prince Albert forum is scheduled for Sept. 7 with introductions at 6:30. Following opening remarks from each candidate, the public will have their chance to ask questions starting at 7:30 pm. 

The event is to be held in person at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library and will also be livestreamed on the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page. 

Liberal candidate Estelle Hjertaas said she was disappointed to hear the event was cancelled, since it gives voters a valuable chance to hear incumbent MPs answer questions and defend their record.

“Debates and all candidate forums are an important part of our democracy – they allow voters to ask candidates questions and get a sense of who they are,” Hjertaas said in a press release.

“These events are a means to hold elected members and candidates accountable and ask them about their views on local issues. I enjoyed attending them as a voter, and believe it is very important for me to attend as a candidate.”