The election campaign hasn’t officially started, but really, it’s already begun. NDP candidate Wayne Stetski launched the first volley with his eight-debate challenge. He knew Conservative MP David Wilks wouldn’t accept and that he would score a few points. Wilks helped him out by making some non-sensical answers to local media. To the Fernie Free Press, he said Stetski should spend more time defending NDP policies, and less on debate schedules. Of course, debates are a great forum for all candidates to both promote and defend their own policies, and attack their opponents. That goes for everyone.
To the Nelson Star, Wilks said he was too busy serving his constituents to worry about debate schedules right now. He repeated that point to me — that until the writ is dropped he is focused on his constituents. This appears to mean he’s busy driving around the riding, handing out cheques — some for work that’s already been done.
He said that he needs to go out and give out that money before the writ is dropped so projects can be started, but if that were the case, how could Parks Canada have finished some work on the Trans-Canada Highway before the funding was even announced last week?
David Wilks holds the huge advantage of being the incumbent in a largely Conservative riding. He shouldn’t have too much to be worried about, particularly with three candidates splitting the vote on the left.
Still, he should show respect for the electorate and our democracy by taking part in the debates, and that includes delegating one of his staffers to craft a schedule. The debates provide the best opportunity for as many people to ask questions and get answers from our candidates in the most efficient manner possible by getting then all together in one room.
Flipping burgers just doesn’t cut it.