Candidates talk issues

UPDATE: 9:25 p.m.

Most of the federal candidates in the Kelowna-Lake Country and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola ridings attended the Kelowna Senior Citizens' Society hall to discuss their respective parties' platforms.

Notably, both Conservative Party candidates, Tracy Gray and incumbent Dan Albas, were missing, along with Marijuana Party candidates Darrin Fidler and Brynn Jones.

The forum, hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women Kelowna, was well attended, and topics of discussion ranged from climate change, to a national pharmacare program, to homelessness, to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Green Party candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Robert Mellalieu said a national pharmacare program is of particular note to him, as he currently pays $500 per month for his diabetes medication.

“If I was a single mom, if I didn't have a good job, that $500 is a lot of money, it's way too much,” he said. “That is a decision I don't want anybody to have to make, do I eat or do I take my drugs? That decision shouldn't be happening in Canada.”

Mellalieu said a Green Party government will bring in national pharmacare, a sentiment echoed by NDP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country Justin Kulik, who said an NDP government would bring in universal pharmacare within one year of being elected.

Incumbent Liberal candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country Stephen Fuhr said such a timeline is unrealistic, as the federal government would have to work with provincial governments to make that happen.

“We had a committee that went forward and they came back and said 'realistically, we could have something in place by 2022,'” Fuhr said. “We would have basic drug coverage by 2022 and a fully implemented plan by 2027, that's the reality.”

On the topic of Indigenous issues, People's Party of Canada candidate John Barr said a PPC government would “bring money home from UN programs” and use that money to build infrastructure on reserves. He added that that the Liberal government has “done more for water in Africa than in Canada.”

“We've actually cleared up two-thirds to 75 per cent of those water issues on reserves and we'll be done those probably within the next 18 to 24 months,” Fuhr responded.

The next local candidates' forum will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Kelowna library.

ORIGINAL: 7 p.m.

Local federal candidates will be meeting Thursday night for an all-candidates meeting, prior to the Oct. 21 election.

The event, hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women Kelowna, will be held at the Kelowna Senior Citizens' Society hall at 1353 Richter Street at 7 p.m.

Candidates from the Kelowna-Lake Country and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola ridings have been invited.

The actual forum begins at 7:30 p.m. and Castanet will be live streaming it when it begins.

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