What may be the Sunshine Coast’s only in-person candidates’ forum with the major parties will be hosted by the Sechelt and District Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Sept. 13.
“We will, of course, be complying with all public health orders, which includes vaccine passports,” chamber chair John Henderson told Coast Reporter.
The event is scheduled for the same day new provincial health requirements come into effect, and will require proof of vaccination from all attendees, including election candidates.
Live streaming will be available via Zoom and www.secheltchamber.bc.ca, and will be open to all. In-person attendance is open to chamber members to accommodate social distancing measures.
“People will make a decision. If they can attend and honour the rules, then they’re welcome. And if they can’t, as a community organization, we are going to honour the public health regulations,” Henderson said.
When asked whether a candidate could join the forum virtually if they are not able to provide proof of vaccination, Henderson said no, as the chamber wants candidates to attend in person.
“Our board has taken the view that we do want to see major party candidates participating,” Henderson said.
When the event was being planned, the proof of vaccination requirement for events and some businesses was not yet announced.
Organizers invited the five candidates who had declared their candidacy at the time: incumbent Liberal MP Patrick Weiler, former Conservative MP John Weston, Avi Lewis for the NDP, Mike Simpson for the Green Party, and Doug Bebb for the People’s Party of Canada.
Since then, three more candidates have been confirmed for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding: Gordon Jeffrey for the Rhinoceros Party, and independent candidates Terry Grimwood and Chris MacGregor.
The Sechelt chamber’s all-candidates meeting will take place at Blue Ocean Golf Club in Sechelt starting at 4 p.m. on Sept. 13.