Kelowna political spat

We feel we need to speak about the actual facts of what happened at Red Bird Brewing on Sept. 8 when (Kelowna) Mayor Colin Basran announced his candidacy for re-eletion.

As my husband John and I attended the event and have yet to see the truth in the news, we believe, the time has come to provide it from a non biased, firsthand perspective. We feel the voting public must know what happened in order to be able to properly elect people we can all trust.

I was invited to register as a guest to Basran's announcement event and then decided to volunteer on the day of that event. I offered my ticket to (councillor candidate) Ron Cannan and said saying I would see if I can give him my ticket.

At the time Cannan wasn't registered for the sold-out event. My husband and I arrived a half hour early at and I asked one of the organizers of the event if I could give my ticket to someone else, as I had offered to volunteer. I was told that I could not do that, as the event was at capacity.

I immediately contacted Cannan, to apologize and let him know that I wasn't able to pass on my ticket to him. When I saw Cannan was already at the gate, I went to apologize in person for the miscommunication, attempting to put error behind us. I did so, and we spoke about it for a few moments until I had to proceed to volunteering at the gate taking tickets.

I realized Canan had never left. In fact, at that point, he decided to force his way through the entrance, pushing his bike through fellow volunteer Beryl Itani, who was also checking people’s tickets at the door. Ron was aware of the invite-only aspect of the event, but he still chose to force his way in past this long-time retired community volunteer.

I was embarrassed and very uncomfortable that someone who was supposed to be a friend of ours, would completely ignore the explanation as to why he could not come into the event. I saw a number of people, including Wayne Pierce (Basran’s campaign manager) approaching Cannan to ask him to leave. Cannan stayed for a period of time and continued to actively engage guests who were checking in at the event.

Kelowna is a small town, and many of us know each other well.

Basran and Cannan are friends of ours. We are known for being welcoming and always strive for integrity and honesty in all of our relationships. We don't know why Cannan chose to ignore being asked to please leave, until Basran himself asked him to leave.

We hoped the matter was closed when Cannan left. We was very surprised the story made it into a local newspaper the next day. As we read the comments by Cannan, we were taken aback by his interpretation of the event.

We personally, have never seen a handshake between Cannan and Basran and haven't heard Basran raise his voice to Cannan, nor did I realize that there was a history from the last election when Cannan was part of (then, and current, mayoral candidate) Tom Dyas’s campaign team.

We personally don't understand why Cannan would stay at the event. We certainly would not (have done so). Although no-one expects community leaders to all be best friends or agree on all matters, being respectful of each other would be commendable in these public roles.

We find it confounding to accept the narrative that came from this story to portray Basran as the bad guy who should be working with Cannan simply because he is running for office. Everyone deserves the right to make their own decision and choose to express their reasonable desires.

Because we wanted to help these two get to a place of peace, Kelowna is a small town and these two individuals who are not getting along could easily both be on council, we set about getting them together in a neutral location so they could clear the air and move forward.

I asked my husband to help arrange for this meeting to take place at our house. Although (Cannan and Basran) were both very busy leading up to the Oct. 15 election, they agreed to sit down to clear the air.

We offered Cannan several options of dates and times to get together but, unfortunately, he only got back to us after said dates, making it next to impossible to finalize the meeting.

Despite what Cannan said in a follow-up article, there was no effort made by him as far as we are aware.

We feel it is time for voters to focus on which candidates they feel properly reflect their morals and values and what is needed to form the best council for 2022-2026, with honest, proven, hard-working people.

The media is creating an excellent opportunity to get to know all the amazing people we have to choose from to run our great city. There are also several forums to listen to the candidates, which we hope voters will take part in.

Alli McNeill and John Weisbeck

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