Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams moderates a lunchtime candidate forum for the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding, attended by the BC Liberals’ Karen Bill (clockwise from top right), the BC Green Party’s Jenn Neilson and the NDP’s Grace Lore. Williams and the Chamber are hosting online forums for five ridings ahead of the Oct. 24 election. (YouTube)

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams moderates a lunchtime candidate forum for the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding, attended by the BC Liberals’ Karen Bill (clockwise from top right), the BC Green Party’s Jenn Neilson and the NDP’s Grace Lore. Williams and the Chamber are hosting online forums for five ridings ahead of the Oct. 24 election. (YouTube)

Greater Victoria chamber shifts candidate forums online for 2020

NDP, Liberal and Green candidates answer CEO’s questions during lunchtime election panels

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has taken its annual election candidate forums online.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams is moderating a series of events from noon to 1 p.m. – Green, Liberal and NDP candidates in each of five ridings were invited – in advance of the Oct. 24 provincial election.

RELATED STORIES: BC Votes 2020

Tuesday’s opening forum featured Victoria-Beacon Hill candidates Karen Bill of the BC Liberals, Grace Lore of the NDP and Jenn Neilson of the Green Party. The trio, vying to replace retiring NDP MLA Carole James, answered Williams’ questions about such pre-selected topics as the cost of housing, support for renters and small business, encampments in neighbourhoods, getting people back working downtown as a way to support local businesses, help for tourism operators, amalgamation and regional transportation.

On encampments, a discussion that touched on increased crime in adjacent areas, Neilson said the governing NDP “has not committed to ending homelessness, and has no plan to end homelessness,” noting that 24/7 sheltering is not the answer.

Bill said getting people out of parks and into housing requires a range of services and that the underlying causes of homelessness need to be addressed. “You can’t do this while people are living in tents,” she said. She accused the NDP of going about helping the unhoused the wrong way, by simply buying hotels. Success comes, Bill added, through supports provided “when people transition from tents to housing.”

For her part, Lore said while many units have been provided for the community’s unhoused, “there’s much more to do.” Having a dedicated mental health and addictions ministry, something previous governments have not had, is key to providing critical service. “Treating mental health as a health issue is core to where we are now,” she added.

ALSO READ: Central Park meet-and-greet focuses on homelessness

Lore and Bill referenced existing programs or party platforms when it comes to assisting the many tourism-related businesses in the riding. Neilson called for a long-term plan that helps operators diversify so they appeal to the more local and regional visitors expected to increase in the near future.

The NDP previously budgeted $50 million for its tourism task force as part of its economic recovery plan, Lore said, and plans to invest an additional $100 million to help B.C. tourism-related business. “We want to make sure that when international travel is safe again that this remains a top place to visit.”

The Liberals would create a loan guarantee program for tourism operators and work to help create regional tourism hubs to get more people back to work, Bill said. Eliminating the PST for year and keeping it at three per cent the following year would also help tourism and hospitality dependent businesses, she added.

On amalgamation?

Lore acknowledged the region has too many municipalities but said the issue needs to be resolved by local governments. Neilson said the topic requires further discussion, as residents living further from downtown often have different priorities than those living closer.

Bill did not mince words. “Let’s stop talking about it and get it done. The end. Just get it done,” she said.

Wednesday’s noon-1 p.m. forum (Oct. 14) featured candidates from Oak Bay-Gordon Head, while subsequent panels include Saanich South on Oct. 15, Esquimalt-Metchosin on Oct. 16 and Victoria-Swan Lake on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

To view your riding’s panel live or archived, visit victoriachamber.ca.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

Lookout Lake water levels are low as the dam undergoes upgrades. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood dam upgrades projected to be under budget

Province designates Lookout Brook as a high consequence dam should it fail

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Most Read