Chamber of Commerce to host all-candidates forum Oct. 15

Organizers seeking questions from the public for pre-election event

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce will host an all-candidates forum Oct. 15 at Della Herman Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum starts at 7 p.m.

The roughly 90-minute event, moderated by Interior News editor Thom Barker, will feature the six candidates vying for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley seat in the federal Parliament.

Each candidate will have three minutes to make an opening statement based on questions formulated by local media outlets and provided in advance to the candidates.

Following opening statements, there will be three rounds of questions and answers. The questions will come entirely from the public. Over the next four weeks, organizers will be collecting questions, which can be dropped off at the offices of the Chamber and Interior News or emailed to

The questions will be vetted to eliminate duplicates, derogatory comments and statements that are not questions by a committee made up of Barker, chamber manager Sheena Miller, Interior News reporter Trevor Hewitt, chamber administrator Susan Bundock and Shane Loughran, operations manager for The Moose.

The questions will be organized into three broad categories, climate change, economy and general. Each candidate will be asked one question from each category drawn randomly. The candidates will also be provided with three rebuttal cards, which they may use to respond to another candidate.

Answers and rebuttals will be limited to one minute.

The entire event will be livestreamed on the Interior News Facebook page. Due to time constraints of live streaming, no questions will be taken from the floor

The candidates will then have two minutes to make a closing statement.

The public is also invited to attend an informal meet and greet immediately following the forum in the Round Room where voters can ask questions directly to the candidates.

The following day, Oct. 16, the Smithers Public Library is holding a speed-dating event with the candidates.

In alphabetical order the candidates are:

Taylor Bachrach (New Democratic Party), Smithers mayor (on leave of absence) and small business owner;

Dave Birdi (Liberal Party), former Fort St. James district councillor and economic development officer;

Jody Craven (People’s Party), recent Rio Tinto retiree, Kitimat;

Claire Rattée (Conservative Party), former Kitimat town councillor and small business owner;

Michael Sawyer (Green Party), environmental consultant, Smithers; and

Rod Taylor (Chirstian Heritage Party), party leader and farmer, Telkwa.

Danny Nunes (independent), comedian, Kitimat

Merv Ritchie (independent), business person and heavy equipment mechanic, Terrace

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