The Red Deer Advocate reports, “An Earl Dreeshen lawn sign was propped up in the chair that the Conservative incumbent would have occupied at Thursday’s candidate forum for the federal Red Deer riding. But his absence didn’t stop someone in the audience from asking him a question. ‘Do you think constituencies are effectively represented by humans or house plants? This is a relevant question since so many Conservatives are skipping out on public forums,’ said forum moderator Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta (and Council of Canadians Board member) who read the question to laughter from the crowd of about 90 people at the Golden Circle.”
“NDP candidate Stuart Somerville and Green Party candidate Mason Sisson took a few jabs at the missing candidate. So did Eric McCabe, vice-president of the local Liberal association, who represented Liberal candidate Andrew Lineker who was ill.”
“The forum (was) organized by Central Alberta Council on Aging, Council of Canadians (Red Deer chapter) and Friends of Medicare.”
On April 20, the Toronto Star reported, “Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has pointedly criticized Conservative candidates for skipping debates. The Council of Canadians may have wordlessly trumped him. The advocacy group co-hosted a debate at a church in the riding of Calgary Centre-North on Tuesday night. According to the news website OpenFile, Liberal, NDP, Green and Marxist-Leninist candidates attended, but Conservative Michelle Rempel had ‘prior commitments’. Her seat was occupied by a potted plant.”
According to the Globe and Mail, Conservative candidates not participating in all-candidates debates include Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East), Diane Ablonczy (Calgary-Nose Hill), Julian Fantino (Vaughn), Bryan Hayes (Sault Ste. Marie), Ed Holder (London West), and Damian Konstantinakos (Ottawa Centre).
John Duncan (Vancouver Island North) did not attend the Comox Valley chapter organized all-candidates debate.
The Langley Advance has reported, “Four of five of Langley’s federal election candidates took part in a forum Monday organized by the Council of Canadians at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre. The lone no-show was incumbent Conservative candidate Mark Warawa.”
The Prince Albert Herald has reported, “As three out of the five Prince Albert candidates running in federal election went head-to-head Tuesday night (at a forum hosted by the Council of Canadians), debating pensions, healthcare, climate change, peacekeeping among other topics, one question dominated the floor : where was incumbent (Conservative MP) Randy Hoback?”
Conservative candidate LaVar Payne (Medicine Hat) was a no-show at a debate organized by a number of groups, including the Council of Canadians.
And Conservative Jim Hillyer (Lethbridge) said he wouldn’t attend all-candidates debates in the last week of the election.