Oak Bay-Gordon Head NDP candidate Jessica Van der Veen defends absence

Victoria-Swan Lake candidate Rob Fleming asked to represent the NDP at candidates forum held by the Victoria Chinese Community Association

Oak Bay-Gordon Head NDP candidate Jessica Van der Veen is clearing up misinformation surrounding a candidates forum held by the Victoria Chinese Community Association on Tuesday, April 30.

The regional event featured all the candidates from Oak Bay-Gordon Head except for Van der Veen, with Victoria-Swan Lake candidate Rob Fleming representing the NDP.

Some suggested Van der Veen chose not to take part in the event, asking Fleming to fill in for her.

Both Fleming and Van der Veen confirmed Fleming was invited to the event directly a number of weeks ago by the event’s organizers. Van der Veen also attended the event as an audience member and supporter.

“I saw that it was happening, and I thought it’s important for me to be at this regional event,” Van der Veen said. “We respect the decision on who they chose to invite. That’s it.”

Van der Veen said she is more than willing to take part in debates.

“I’ve done four debates and they were excellent experiences,” she said. “I’ll go to any debate that anyone invites me to. I’d be delighted to.”