Media releases | January 12, 2006

EDMONTON—Organizers and sponsors of a Federal election forum to be held at the Royal Alberta Museum tonight are very frustrated that the Conservatives are not sending anyone to debate five key public interest issues.

The four main political parties were invited to send any representative from Edmonton to participate in the forum. Despite a lead-time of over a month, the Conservative Party has indicated that “no one will be able to attend…as the local campaigns have previous commitments made.”

“While we recognize that this is a busy time for all candidates, we find it a little hard to swallow that every single Conservative candidate in Edmonton had previous commitments on a date their organizers knew about for over a month,” says Bill-Moore Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.

“It’s especially hard to believe since they gave the exact same excuse for our Calgary forum earlier this week. We’re curious to know what other commitments they’ve all made for tonight.”

“It seems to us that the Conservatives are trying to avoid talking about these important issues in a format where they might be challenged by other candidates, or where they might slip up and stray from Stephen Harper’s well-crafted messages,” says Moore-Kilgannon. “So much for accountability and commitment to the democratic process.”

“Since the Conservative Party seems to be chicken to debate the other main parties on these issues, we have decided they will be represented by an agreeable, drinking bird”, says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.

The Federal Election candidate’s forum in Edmonton will take place Thursday, January 12, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the Royal Alberta Museum (Theatre) (12845 - 102 Avenue).

During the forum, a specific question on five issues (Health Care, Post-Secondary Education, Early Childhood Services, Environment/Energy Policy, The “Democratic Deficit” will be put to the representatives for their reaction.  Confirmed candidates are: Linda Duncan (NDP), David Parker (Greens) and Brad Enge (Liberals).

This forum is sponsored by: Edmonton Public School Teachers, Edmonton Catholic School Teachers, United Nurses of Alberta, Friends of Medicare, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 488 Political Action Committee, and Public Service Alliance of Canada (Edmonton).

Public Interest Alberta (PIA) is a non-partisan province-wide organization focused on education and advocacy on public interest issues.

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