The Conservative candidate for North Okanagan-Shuswap in the upcoming federal election has, so far, only committed to appearing at a pair of all-candidate forums.
Mel Arnold will appear at forums sponsored by the chambers of commerce in Vernon and Salmon Arm.
“We’re trying to balance our time, we have a busy schedule and we’re doing as much door-knocking as possible and meeting people one-on-one,” said Arnold Thursday. “There will be other forums across the riding that we will try to participate in.”
The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will hold its forum on Wednesday, Sept. 30, though a venue for the event has not been confirmed.
The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce is holding a forum the week before, Sept. 23, and the Sustainable Environment Network Society will host one the next night – Sept. 24 – but Arnold has not, at this time, committed to either.
Arnold, like his predecessor, retiring conservative MP Colin Mayes, is from Salmon Arm, and not widely known in Greater Vernon.
Asked if appearing in more than one forum in the biggest city in the riding would be a good way to get to know people, Arnold said he and his campaign team are spending plenty of time in Vernon.
“We’re spending hours and days door-knocking throughout the riding, meeting people face-to-face and we’re in Vernon almost every week at the (Downtown Vernon Association’s) Avenue Market,” said Arnold. “So we’re spending a lot of time in Vernon getting to know people face-to-face.”
The Greater Vernon Performing Arts Society is also holding a forum on Monday, Sept. 14.
Society president Sigrid-Anne Thors said Arnold’s campaign committee said he would take part, then declined, saying Arnold would be participating in the forum hosted by the Vernon chamber.
“Why can’t he take part in two?” said Thors. “I don’t think that’s a great problem when running a 78-day campaign.
Arnold said his office is receiving multiple requests daily to appear at forums throughout the riding.
“We’re making those decisions on a local basis as to how we can best fit them in our time,” he said.