Making the rounds Saturday (clockwise from top) Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan visits a rally at campaign headquarters for Liberal candidate Gordon Hogg in South Surrey; NDP candidate Jonathan Silveira with a supporter; and Conservative candidate Kerry-Lynne Findlay at White Rock Community Centre’s Christmas on the Peninsula celebration. (Aaron Hinks/Twitter photos)

Chamber to host South Surrey-White Rock byelection debate

Questions from public must be submitted in advance

For voters wanting to hear in person where all the candidates in the upcoming federal byelection stand on various issues, there is, so far, just one opportunity.

Hosted by the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce, a meeting has been set for 7-9 p.m. Dec. 5 at the White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Ave.

Chamber executive director Cliff Annable said Tuesday that it was difficult to organize, in part due to the amount of notice given for the byelection.

Called Nov. 5, the byelection takes place Dec. 11.

In fact, chamber officials had initially told Peace Arch News Monday that there would not be a chamber-hosted meeting, due to a lack of venue in which to hold it.

Tuesday morning, however, Annable said he “lucked out” in securing the community centre.

“I went to the City of White Rock and said, ‘is there any way?’”

There are to be seven choices for voters: Larry Colero (Green); Kerry-Lynne Findlay (Conservative); Gordon Hogg (Liberal); Michael Huenefeld (Progressive Canadian); Jonathan Silveira (NDP); Rod Taylor (Christian Heritage Party) and Donald Wilson (Libertarian).

Annable said questions for the candidates will be taken in advance only. The deadline to submit a question – by email to executivedirector@sswrchamber.ca – is 5 p.m. Dec. 4.

An Elections Canada spokesperson told PAN such meetings do not have to be held, and, they are outside of Elections Canada’s mandate.

“That falls on the political side,” John Enright said.“There’s no requirement under the (Elections) Act to have them, and we don’t monitor them.”

Enright said the date set for the byelection – it was one of four called at the same time – was the earliest that could be chosen; 37 days from the drop of the writ.

He noted that anyone wishing to vote in advance may do so from Dec. 1-4. , at locations listed on their voter card.

The byelection was triggered by the resignation of former Conservative MP Dianne Watts, a former Surrey mayor who was elected MP in the 2015 election. She resigned in September to take a run at leadership of the BC Liberals.

So far, the highest-profile campaigning seen has been that of candidates of the two major parties, most notably, visits Nov. 15 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Both were in town to promote their parties’ candidates Nov. 15.

Trudeau to return

Trudeau is scheduled to return to the Semiahmoo Peninsula Dec. 2 for an “open community meet-and-greet.”

The location and time of the visit has yet to be released.

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