Cadman won’t talk to press or attend all-candidates meetings

Staffer says she's too busy door-knocking to do either, even though she was seen at other events recently.

Dona Cadman

Surrey-North Conservative incumbent Dona Cadman will not be making herself available for any all-candidates meetings or press interviews prior to election day, her office confirmed Monday.

“I apologize, unfortunately she’s quite busy,” a staffer at her campaign office said. “She’s been out door-knocking and talking with the public.”

Cadman pulled out of one all-candidates meeting this month a day before the event, failed to complete a community questionnaire and has refused to respond to repeated requests for media interviews.

In fact, she even bowed out of The Leader’s riding coverage, where all candidates are given generous space to state their positions.

Requests for comment as to why she’s ducking media questions were denied.

“Sadly, her schedule is quite booked since the first day of the election,” said the staffer, who refused to give her name.

Despite her busy calendar, Cadman has been seen at several events including a student art show opening on April 22 and a Whalley Little League game and the Party for the Planet the prior weekend.

Shamus Reid, B.C. Press Secretary, Canada’s New Democrats said it’s not the first time he’s heard Cadman was avoiding press calls.

He believes she has hemmed herself into a corner by assuring her constituents she opposed the harmonized sales tax (HST), then was absent during the vote on it.

Cadman told The Leader just over a year ago she had her knuckles rapped for speaking out against the HST.

She said Conservative whip Gordon O’Connor chastised her for speaking out.

“I have been disciplined,” Cadman said at the time. “And I accept my discipline.”

They didn’t threaten to remove her from caucus, she said, but it was “more of a rap on the knuckles and (told to) smarten up.”

She maintains she wasn’t directly told to be absent for the vote.

“I wasn’t told,” she said. “There were suggestions.

“I still do oppose it,” Cadman said. “By not being there was just as bad as if I had stood up and said ‘no’. ”

Reid said the NDP candidate in the Surrey-North riding, Jasbir Sandhu, is hearing from constituents that they’re frustrated with the lack of representation they have.

Conservative for Fleetwood-Port Kells, Nina Grewal, also missed an all-candidates meeting due to conflicting appointments, but has made herself available for media interviews.

Conservatives Mani Fallon (running in Newton-North Delta) and Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale) have attended all candidates meetings and have been available to the press.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com