Candidates in the Oct. 19 federal election presented their platforms and promised to work with other federal politicians and other levels of government to represent the needs of the riding.
The four candidates in the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola spoke at a forum at Centre Stage theatre in Summerland on Monday evening.
The forum was organized by the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and the Summerland Review.
Questions were submitted in advance and were selected to present a cross-section of the concerns presented.
Green Party candidate Robert Mellalieu said the role of a Member of Parliament is to represent the constituents.
“That has been lost over the years,” he said, mentioning the practice of parties directing to their members how to vote on certain issues in the House of Commons.
“In the Green Party, we’re not going to whip the votes,” he said.
Angelique Wood, the New Democratic Party candidate, said she would listen to the constituents throughout the new large and diverse riding.
“My aim is to listen to the concerns of people on the ground,” she said, adding that she would work for the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Liberal Party candidate Karley Scott said the role of an elected member is to represent the constituency, not the federal government.
Scott also talked about the importance of evidence-based decision making on important issues.
“It’s the constituency’s voice in Ottawa rather than Ottawa’s voice in the constituency,” she said of the role of a Member of Parliament. “I’m your voice and I would be a strong voice for you.”
Conservative Party candidate Dan Albas, who was elected four years ago, promised to listen to those who come to him with concerns and to show up for votes in the House of Commons. He said in the last term in Parliament, he was one of five members with perfect attendance when votes were called.
“I believe people deserve to be heard,” he said. “I want to represent you in a way you can be proud of.”
Albas added that he would work with MPs from adjacent ridings, even if they are not of the same party affiliation.
“I have a track record of working with anyone,” he said. “I work on behalf of all of you.”
Mellalieu echoed this goal.
“The Green Party’s all about working with all sorts of different people,” he said.
Wood said the members of the House of Commons have the same goal of serving their constituents, despite their various party memberships.
“Sometimes the party system can feel divisive,” she said, “but we all try to serve our public.”
Scott talked about the importance of developing connections with others.
“This comes down to relationship building,” she said. “I’ve been relationship building all of my life.”