Whistler will hear the four B.C. election candidates vying to represent the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding on Monday, May 6.
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Whistler Library and Whistler Museum to bring the NDP's Ana Santos, BC Liberal Jordan Sturdy, BC Conservative Ian McLeod and Green Party candidate Richard Warrington to the Whistler Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the Real Estate Association of Whistler.
"We look forward to a vibrant debate across four candidates, which will help ensure our business owners and constituents are well-informed prior to the election day on May 14," said Fiona Famulak, Whistler Chamber of Commerce president, in an email.
Famulak said attendees will have the opportunity to listen to brief presentations made by each of the candidates and to ask questions on topics that are important to them.
Teacher Richard Warrington was named the Green Party of BC's last-minute addition to the provincial election roster. Warrington returned to West Vancouver, where he grew up, in July 2012 after living for 25 years in Denmark. He joined the race on Earth Day, April 22.
In an interview, Warrington said he had been looking for a teaching position since his return and decided to join the race only recently. "There just aren't jobs for teachers right now. It's not an evil cost-cutting measure, it's a drop in enrollments," he said.
"There are a lot of similarities between Denmark and B.C. and all of Canada, maybe the whole of the western world; they have a problem with our social infrastructure which we like so much, but we aren't able to afford it. I think there are a lot of challenges."
He said he was new to politics and hoped voters would see that as a plus.
"I decided to represent the Green Party because it was suggested to me that I have a green profile. I thought it was a joke at first but we talked about it more and more and I see it as a viable alternative," he said.
"Maybe it's an advantage. People seem to be pretty disillusioned with the political system and the way it seems to be working now. I can be a new voice and a bit of an alternative... I'm not completely inexperienced, I served two terms on our school board in Denmark."
Warrington found his time in Denmark to be especially influential given the European approach to sustainability.
"They've got all these green taxes, you should see the people. It's a competition to be able to save as much money as possible. They don't leave a room without turning off lights, a dripping tap is a source of horror," he said.
Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she had attended provincial debates in Whistler in the past to watch the candidates spar and that they had not drawn large numbers of voters, but this could change this year with two of the three candidates, BC Liberal Jordan Sturdy and New Democrat Ana Santos, being from the Sea to Sky corridor. The other candidate is BC Conservative Ian McLeod of West Vancouver.
"I think there would be interest in seeing the all-candidates debate for this election... I think there would be a difference this time," said Wilhelm-Morden.
West Vancouver will be the first location of an all-candidates debate in the riding. It will take place at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver on Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and is presented by the West Vancouver Library Board and the Kay Meek Centre.
The Pemberton All-Candidates Debate comes next, at the Pemberton Community Centre on Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce.
Squamish all-candidates forum is on Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Theatre, sponsored by the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and Sea to Sky Community Services. The final debate will be at Lions Bay on May 9.
Early voting will be available from May 8 to 11 throughout the riding, open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Voters in Pemberton can go to the Pemberton Community Centre, voters in Whistler can go to the Whistler Conference Centre, and voters in Squamish can go to Brennan Park Recreation Centre. Early voting in West Vancouver takes place at the Gleneagles Community Centre.
Online registration to vote is closed but voters can register by phone until 8 p.m. on April 23 at 1-800-661-8683. Voters may also register to vote or update their voter registration information when they vote.
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