Peace Region residents looking to learn more about the candidates vying to represent them in Ottawa will have two chances to do so this election season.
The Alaska Highway News, along with the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce and the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce, are hosting debates for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies candidates in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John this fall.
The Dawson Creek event will be held at the Calvin Kruk Centre Monday, Oct. 5. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the debate beginning at 6:30 sharp. The event is being sponsored by the South Okanagan Real Estate Board.
Candidates will square off at the Lido Theatre in Fort St. John Tuesday, Oct. 6. Doors open 6:30 p.m. with the debate to begin at 7 p.m. The event is being sponsored by the BC Northern Real Estate Board.
Both debates are free and open to the public. Conservative candidate and incumbent Bob Zimmer will face off against the NDP's Kathi Dickie, a former Fort Nelson First Nation Chief, and Liberal Matt Shaw, an educator from Prince George.
The Alaska Highway News will moderate both events, which will feature an opportunity for residents to submit questions for the candidates ahead of time.
Kathleen Connolly, executive director for the Dawson Creek Chamber, hopes the debates will be an opportunity for voters to learn more about the people working to become the region's MP.
"It's all about the education—know who you're voting for and why you're voting," she said.
"That's the primary reason why we (host debates)—we're non-partisan, we don't get involved in politics at that level, but it's important for people to vote so we continue to have a democratic country."
A number of federal policies have big impacts on local businesses, Connolly said, citing the temporary foreign worker program, environmental assessment processes, and the potential for a corporate tax hike under an NDP government.
Green party candidate Liz Biggar and Libertarian Todd Keller will not be attending in person but will be given an opportunity to deliver statements.
The candidates will be asked to answer questions from residents of the South Peace at the Dawson Creek debate and the North Peace in Fort St. John.
Questions can be submitted to email@example.com through Oct. 2.
Please include your full name, location, and who you wish to address your question to. The Alaska Highway News will select a limited number of questions to put to the candidates.
The election is Oct. 19.