Friday, April 29, 2011

Conservative MP Kelly Block a no-show at Saskatoon all-candidates forum, too busy eating pizza in Biggar; AWOL on Twitter since Apr. 20

Over 130 people packed the St. George’s Senior Citizens’ Centre in Saskatoon on April 28, 2011, for a federal election all-candidates forum organized by the Riversdale Community Association.

Three of the four candidates for the riding of Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar were present: Nettie Wiebe (NDP), Lee Reaney (Liberal) and Vicki Strelioff (Green Party).

The Conservative candidate and incumbent MP Kelly Block was a no-show.

Josh Boyes, Block’s campaign manager, had previously told the StarPhoenix that Block would be in Biggar at a volunteer appreciation pizza party, followed by a door knocking blitz in the community.

Community association president Doug Ramage on April 20 said when he originally spoke with Boyes and Block, he told them the debate would be either the 27th or 28th, with the latter being a backup date.

“Boyes and Block knew the debate would be either the 27th or 28th as those are the dates I presented them with,” said Ramage in an email.

Block’s campaign team had lots of time to plan for the forum but it seems they went ahead and booked other events on those two days anyway.

Dodging debates with her opponents appears to be Block’s specialty. In the 2008 federal election she skipped forums in Saskatoon and Biggar.

Block won the seat in 2008 beating Wiebe by a slim 262 votes.

Block has also been AWOL on her Twitter account since April 20 when the story first broke about her decision not to attend the forum. It’s as if she’s dropped off the face of the earth.

The candidates at the forum were permitted to question each other. Wiebe’s first query was to the absent Block.

“I’d like her to take the time to defend (her) record,” Wiebe said.

The candidates faced questions from the forum moderator before the crowd had its chance to ask the three about their policies, the StarPhoenix reported. Questions ranged from Canada’s involvement in NATO to poverty reduction. One person asked about the candidates’ support for proportional representation.

“We have to move in the country . . . towards a system that more clearly reflects the wishes of the electorate,” Wiebe said.

Strelioff said the Green party has always supported introducing proportional representation to Canada. “Every vote should count,” she said.

Reaney was less clear about his support.

“Our system is not representative of a number of Canadians,” he said.

On affordable housing, Wiebe said Canada needs a national plan to ensure people find acceptable homes. [Incumbent absent from forum (StarPhoenix, April 29, 2011)]

Conservative candidates are in hiding in many ridings across the country.

In a blog posting for, Alheli Picazo said she compiled a list of those who have, thus far, refused to take part in all-candidate forums, town hall events, and scheduled debates. As of April 22, 2011, there were 67 Conservative candidates on the list.

The repugnant behaviour displayed by Block and her fellow Conservatives appears to be merely an extension of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s deep contempt for Parliament, democracy and Canadians in general.

Incumbent MP Kelly Block a no-show at forum

Block AWOL on Twitter since April 20, 2011


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