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Bonnyville Chamber of Commerce responds to forum controversy

Bonnyville’s Chamber of Commerce says the controversy over their all-candidates forum is a misunderstanding.

Last week, the Mannawanis Native Friendship Centre in St. Paul complained because the chamber scheduled their all-candidates forum for October 5th, the same date the centre had already scheduled theirs.

Chamber president Robyn Ducharme said she was unaware of the native friendship’s forum at the time she scheduled the forum, but that it was too late to choose a different date.

“What we did is we did contemplate rescheduling, but by that time it was getting to be crunch time,” Ducharme said. “When you look at all the other dates that could potentially be available, and looking at the other communities, and looking at all the other events that they all get pushed and pulled into, it just really wasn’t feasible. No matter which way we looked at it, we weren’t going to have all four candidates be able to come to our forum. And so we decided to keep the date the same.”

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Ducharme also says that it wasn’t the chamber’s intention to cause any controversy.

“We’re just disappointed in the allegations,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re a non-partisan group, and we just really want to get as much information out there as possible to the constituents in our region.”

Conservative candidate Shannon Stubbs and Libertarian candidate Robert McFadzean will attend the forum in Bonnyville, while Liberal candidate Garry Parenteau and NDP candidate Duane Zaraska will attend the forum hosted by the Mannawanis Native Friendship Centre in St. Paul.

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