In the buildup to the national debates next week there will be 100 or more community-based candidate Debates on the Environment across Canada. One of these will be held in Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s Regina-Qu’Appelle riding. This will occur on Friday Oct. 4th at 7 pm at the Legion Hall in Fort Qu’Appelle.

All candidates, from the Conservative, NDP, Liberal, Green and People’s Party were invited. The Liberal, NDP and Green candidates have all confirmed they will attend, but local MP and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has not responded one way or another; no response at all.  It is vital that Mr. Scheer, who is campaigning to be Prime Minister, attend and show his support for political participation and accountability in his own riding. As a minimum, Scheer should send written responses to the vital questions about the climate emergency, which even the People’s Party candidate has agreed to do.

We agree with Mr. Scheer that Justin Trudeau should have participated in all debates and were encouraged by the statement, reported by CBC on Sept. 4th, that “A spokesperson for the Conservative Party said the debates are about Canadians, not the leaders, and Scheer would be attending all election debates.” This All-Candidates event in Scheer’s own riding is a chance for him to “put his money where his mouth is”.

The Oct. 4th debate will focus on what to do about the climate emergency, including protecting water and biodiversity, which are particularly threatened on the prairies, and protecting overall human health from the growing number of toxins, including plastics, spreading into the environment. The debate will give all candidates equal time. There will be the opportunity for respectful and probing discussion, including for voters to ask questions and make their own comments.

Candidates will be invited to share their personal and party views on a variety of urgent environmental matters. All these issues are of major concern to the Indigenous, rural and urban population that make up this federal riding. All are welcome.

The Oct. 4th debate will be hosted by the Qu’Appelle Valley Environmental Association which has sponsored similar forums prior to the last provincial and local (Fort Qu’Appelle) elections. The QVEA is non-partisan and does not endorse any candidate or party. This event is part of the cross-Canada 100 Debates on the Environment Project to encourage citizen participation in the federal election.

The Oct. 4th debate in Fort Qu’Appelle will allow both decided and undecided voters to re-evaluate their views after hearing directly from the individuals that are running to represent them from this riding.