Her absence is part of a disturbing trend by the Conservative Party.
That’s what Liberal incumbent Carla Qualtrough had to say about Conservative rival Tanya Corbet not attending last Thursday’s all-candidates debate on environmental issues.
The federal election forum at KinVillage in Tsawwassen, which had an audience of roughly 160, was organized by local residents and members of the Delta Naturalists. It was part of the “100 Debates on the Environment Project” by national environmental group GreenPac.
Organizers had no comment when asked about Corbet not taking part, but did note the invitation was first sent to her July 6 and the local questions were sent to all candidates Sept. 24. Corbet didn’t submit written responses to the questions.
When asked by the Optimist why she didn’t attend, Corbet issued the following statement: “I have talked about the Conservative plan for the environment at all-candidates meetings and with thousands of people on their doorsteps throughout the campaign. Banning the dumping of raw sewage into our waterways, the green home renovation tax credit, investing in green technology instead of taxes, and taking the fight against climate change global are all elements of our plan. Unfortunately, campaign commitments restricted me from attending the meeting at KinVillage."
Qualtrough, who pointed out Corbet’s absence at the event, later said, “Whatever Ms. Corbet's reason for not attending last week's debate on the environment, her absence is part of a disturbing trend we are seeing from the Conservative Party as it relates to the environment.”
Qualtrough said she doesn’t understand how someone can put their name forward to represent a community when they are not willing to answer questions, noting the debate on the environment raised a number of important local issues.
Ireland, who had applied for the Delta Conservative nomination before joining the People’s Party of Canada, said it appears to be arrogance by the Conservatives.
“Not only did (Andrew) Scheer’s entourage from Ottawa hand-pick Corbet pushing no fewer than five people out of the nomination race here in Delta so they could acclaim her, dump a great deal of money into the campaign bank account for office, advertising, signs, campaign materials, etc., now they think they don’t have to work for our vote? One must ask themselves who the Conservatives will be working for,” said Ireland.
DeCraene said it’s unfortunate the Conservatives skipped the Delta debate as well as a national one on the environment that would have been televised.
“It was too bad that the Conservative Party candidate Tanya Corbet wasn’t able to attend all the meetings. I think it’s important for all the candidates to attend these meetings, it gives the citizens a chance to hear from all parties on issues facing Delta,” he said.
Anderson-Fennell said he had no comment.
Corbet also did not attend an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Delta Residents Association and Council of Canadians late last month in North Delta. She was at this Wednesday's South Delta Probus Club debate.
The 2015 election saw Conservative incumbent Kerry-Lynne Findlay not take part in a debate on environmental issues at the Ladner Community Centre. Findlay was seen next door having tea at the McKee Seniors' Recreation Centre during that debate.