Running to represent the Shuswap in the Oct. 24 B.C. election are Greg Kyllo for BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. (Salmon Arm Observer image)

Running to represent the Shuswap in the Oct. 24 B.C. election are Greg Kyllo for BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. (Salmon Arm Observer image)

Snap election, climate and infrastructure discussed at Shuswap candidates’ forum

Online forum hosted by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce was distributed through Zoom

Candidates seeking the MLA position for the Shuswap addressed voters in a virtual forum on Oct. 7.

The B.C. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that made an in-person all-candidates forum impossible was discussed during the online event organized by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, as were topics ranging from the environment to local infrastructure and the impacts of the snap election called by the BC NDP.

Along with 50 0r more viewers and Adam Meikle moderating on behalf of the chamber, candidates Greg Kyllo, Sylvia Lindgren and Owen Madden made their cases to voters.

Lindgren, running as an NDP candidate, was the first to offer opening remarks. She used the time to accuse the BC Liberals of creating affordability issues for B.C. residents while working in service of the wealthy over their 16 years as the governing party. She went on to rail against the privatization of care for seniors and tax cuts for the wealthy, while saying measures taken by the present NDP government such as the speculation tax, and measures to improve access to childcare, were an inspiration for her.

“A vote for me is a vote for a plan that leaves no one in B.C. behind,” she said.

Representing the BC Green Party, Owen Madden, formerly a prosecuting lawyer in Ireland who came to specialize in environmental law, and now an organic farmer in Enderby, said he was impressed with the way Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau and the other Green MLAs have held the NDP accountable in their coalition government. He repeated an indictment of the early election from Furstenau, stating an emergency like the one created by COVID-19 is a bad time for a disruption of government and calling the election was a self-serving and unnecessary move by BC NDP leader John Horgan.

Incumbent Greg Kyllo of the BC Liberals, addressing the digital forum from a brightly-lit office with campaign signs behind him, echoed the Green candidate’s statement that the early election was unnecessary. He called it, “The worst double cross imaginable for the Green Party.”

Kyllo also recounted his previous two terms as MLA and other political and business experience, saying it has been a pleasure to serve Shuswap residents.

Candidates grappled with a pair of questions asking for projections on the future of the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway to the Alberta border, and the Salmon Arm West highway upgrades.

Regarding delays around the Salmon Arm West project, Lindgren laid the blame at the feet of the Liberals, who she said did not complete geotechnical assessments and strike a bargain with First Nations while still in government, leading to changes in the project’s scope and completion date.

Madden called his regular drives from Enderby to Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada Highway “hair raising,” and added the other two parties should not blame delays to infrastructure projects on a lack of funding while they are also offering tax breaks to liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies.

Kyllo expressed the highway’s importance as a passenger and trade route and went on to contrast the NDP’s promises to accelerate four-laning of the highway with the projects completed while Liberals were in power.

Lindgren added the contract for the Salmon River Bridge replacement was awarded and work is expected to proceed this fall.

Candidates were asked if they believe climate change was affecting communities in the Shuswap.

Lindgren raised the issue of the wildfires in California affecting the supply of imported food, as well as the work being done thinning forest fuels near Salmon Arm to protect it from fire.

Read More: 50 trees for 50 years: Shuswap Naturalist Club finishes tree planting project at Blackburn Park

Read More: Man accused of assault, forcible confinement spotted in Salmon Arm

Madden said his own farm was affected by wildfire smoke in 2017 and 2018, and then again this September as smoke drifted up from the U.S. He said neither of the other parties has followed through on meeting their reduction targets for gasses which cause climate change.

Kyllo agreed that forest fires have a big impact and reminded the audience that the BC Liberals introduced the carbon tax in 2008, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in North America to do so.

Questions about supports for small-scale agricultural and cannabis growers, and for a tourism industry strained in the face of COVID-19 gave the candidates an opportunity to lay out their approach to small business as a whole.

Read More: Marine search and rescue praises volunteer first responders in North Shuswap

Read More: B.C. has 115 more COVID-19 cases, Thanksgiving caution urged

Kyllo said the Liberals plan to support small businesses by reducing red tape. He said the present government should look at the tax structure, particularly the employer health tax, brought in to replace medical service plan premiums, in order to help B.C. businesses compete with those in other provinces. He also detailed the Liberals’ plan to freeze the provincial sales tax for a year and reduce it to three per cent the following year.

Lindgren noted the Shuswap relies heavily on tourism money for its small businesses and does a good job of advertising itself as a destination. On the topic of craft cannabis growers, she said the NDP was in favour of legal cannabis well before legalization.

Madden detailed the Green Party’s plan to subsidize 20 per cent of rent for businesses, with less than $50,000 in monthly rent costs. He added his party would maintain B.C. as a tourism destination by preserving the environment and also by managing its provincial parks well.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmBC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison is comfortable waiting his turn to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as per the B.C. government’s updated vaccination timeline released on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (File photo)
Province’s vaccine timeline a shot of hope for Salmon Arm mayor

Mayor Alan Harrison sees majority of residents taking precautions against COVID-19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) Cliff Arnouse (pictured), Neskonlith Kukpi7 Judy Wilson and Little Shuswap Lake Kukpi7 Oliver Arnouse released a joint notice regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their respective communities. (File photo)
Secwepemc First Nation bands responding to COVID-19 cases in their communities

Adams Lake, Neskonlith and Little Shuswap Lake band chiefs release joint notice

The CSRD will be hosting online budget consultations and their board meetings will also be streamed online for the foreseeable future. (CSRD Image)
Columbia Shuswap Regional District budget and board meetings will be held online

A first draft of the budget is available on the regional district’s website

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)
Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

After resident kept two gopher snakes in his home, conservation reminds it’s illegal to domesticate wildlife

Most Read