Penticton candidates make final pitch

Penticton MLA hopefuls square off at chamber of commerce debate

Penticton MLA Candidates Dick Canning (NDP)

Penticton MLA Candidates Dick Canning (NDP)

The four candidates vying for votes in the Penticton riding settled down for a lunchtime forum this week with the Chamber of Commerce.

This was the second all-candidates forum arranged by the chamber. Unlike the April 30 forum, this one was open only to chamber members, and was a much quieter affair.

“It was a nice quick hit, have a nice lunch and have that access to decision makers,” said chamber director Jason Cox, who also sits on the B.C. Chamber of Commerce board. This forum, he said, offered a more intimate approach to the candidates.

“It was nice to hear them acknowledge a lot of the needs of the business community,” said Cox. “But I think each of the candidates and all of the parties need to spend more time with business owners in the community and understand what it is we need as small business owners driving the economy to have less regulation and more profitable businesses to employ more people.”

Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw again got off to an aggressive start, comparing the B.C. economy to the Titanic.

“This is the role of Sean Upshaw and the B.C. Conservatives, we’re trying to let B.C. know that the Titanic that we are on has hit an iceberg and it may already be too late,” said Upshaw.

Dick Cannings emphasized his environmental and scientific credentials as bringing a new perspective to government, supporting the NDP platform.

“It’s a plan for a prosperous economy, a caring society and, of course, a healthy environment,” said Cannings. “The choice in this election is clear: more of the same or change for the better.”

Liberal Dan Ashton targeted his message to the audience, highlighting his stance against raising taxes and fiscal responsibility.

“I have a proven track record of getting things done on time and on budget, strong financial capability and someone who has actually held the line on taxation,” said Ashton, adding that he will be able to hit the ground running if elected. “I have forged a relationship with the province on both sides of the house.”

Doug Maxwell scored points with the audience, making personal connections from his 20 years as a member of the Penticton business community as owner of an automotive repair shop, and using that experience to highlight the B.C. First Party’s stand against party politics in the legislature.

“I’ve retired now and I had to pass on some of my knowledge and address some of the things that were bothering me,” said Maxwell. “The first thing was the debt we are in. By now we should be getting out of debt rather than getting in deeper. It seems that party politics leads to deeper debt.”

Questions posed to the candidates ranged widely, from job creation to marijuana legalization and pesticides on golf courses, as well as the inevitable question about the Penticton hospital expansion, which all candidates promised to see completed.

One questioner wanted to know what the candidates would do to create jobs and help businesses in Penticton.

Ashton chose to focus on his record as mayor.

“Businesses like certainty, business likes a low tax regime, business likes no red tape,” he said, noting that nine projects had been completed under the city’s economic incentive zone bylaw. “Let’s do some pilot projects and see if we can get this to other communities.”

Maxwell felt the emphasis should be on the traditional tourism sector, starting with getting local tourism promoters around the same table.

“Then they can decide what is the best direction for Penticton,” said Maxwell. “I think they could do it if they worked together.”

Upshaw wants more focus on the IT sector.

“People are just as capable as turning right when they come off the (Coquihalla) Connector as they are to the left,” he said. “What we need to do is begin to cut red tape that limits investment in this area.”

Cannings too focused on IT.

“We own lifestyle here in Penticton,” said Cannings. “We’ve got to build on that, we’ve got to maintain all the things that bring people here, people who can move their business anywhere.”

Cox wasn’t surprised to hear questions covering such a wide variety of topics. They all, he said, contributed to a prosperous business environment.

“The community is about all of those things in addition to jobs and business,” said Cox. “Having educated kids is important to having an educated workforce, having effective criminal and drug policies is important … crime and poverty do affect our business. I think these things do overlap.”


Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read