From 7pm to 10 pm last night April 27th at the Fort Langley Fine Arts School Chief Sepass Theatre the first ever 'All Candidate Debates' for BOTH Langley Ridings of all the candidates took place. Many people including guest host Rafe Mair commented that it was 'despicable' that two candidates refused to attend. Specifically both Langley Liberal MLAs and Ministers Rich Coleman & Mary Polak chose to boycott the debate. The debate was sponsored by the Langley Teacher's Association and curiously less than 5% of the agenda covered education!
Many people including Rafe commented very negatively on the absence of both Liberal candidates. Some of the words used to describe their boycott were arrogant, despicable, smug and snubbing. It's curious to note that even our local Langley municipal election candidates attend CUPE and International Association of Firefighters sponsored debates for municipal elections. So why won't out Langley MLAs/Ministers?
So it is indeed a very controversial and questionable decision not to attend the debate. Rafe Mair even commented that if he had boycotted an election debate when he was a cabinet minister in the then ruling Socred government, the Premier then would have been furious. He also pointed out that this was another reason that he recommended the public also vote YES for the STV because he bet the two Liberal cabinet ministers would most likely have certainly attended if we had STV! See the Langley Times news report here with more details.