BC NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer, independent candidate Martin Holzbauer, and incumbent BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross at the second 2020 Skeena all-candidates forum, which was held in the Terrace Standard’s offices on Oct. 14. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

BC NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer, independent candidate Martin Holzbauer, and incumbent BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross at the second 2020 Skeena all-candidates forum, which was held in the Terrace Standard’s offices on Oct. 14. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

Skeena candidates talk inland port, resource development at second All-Candidates Forum

The Forum was held Wednesday (Oct. 14) night at the Terrace Standard

The three MLA candidates for the Skeena riding took part in a second all-candidates forum, hosted by the Terrace Standard on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Watch: 2020 Skeena All Candidates Forum – Terrace

The Terrace forum was held in the Terrace Standard office with no members of the public present, to ensure physical distancing could be maintained. The event was live-streamed through Facebook and the Terrace Standard’s website and was moderated by Terrace Standard reporter Jake Wray.

The event was held one week after Skeena candidates participated in a similar forum in Kitimat, hosted by the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 7.

Read more: First All-Candidates Forum for snap election held in Kitimat

Candidates answered questions submitted by Skeena community members, the Terrace Chamber of Commerce, CFNR News and CFTK TV News.

Topics for the event included the tourism industry during and after the pandemic, diversifying the economy, youth entrepreneurship, mental health supports, and systematic racism within the RCMP to name a few.

One topic that garnered a fair amount of attention was whether the candidates were for or against the inland port train trans-loading facility being proposed for Terrace.

Holzbauer said that he could see both sides to the argument. However, he said he couldn’t make an informed choice ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without reading up and doing more research on the proposal.

Halbauer said she did not feel she could answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question, as it isn’t her job to make that decision, but to listen and understand and support the needs and interests of the community.

“At the end of the day, I’m confident that the City of Terrace will be, you know, taking all of this information in and our city councillors — who are elected to make this decision — will make the best decision possible for all community members,” she said.

Ross, however, said he was for it, as it would help provide jobs for those in Terrace who don’t want to or are unable to travel to Kitimat or Prince Rupert or elsewhere, especially in the winter.

Ross added that Kitimat has the tax base from local industry and Rupert has a tax base from ships and ports. However, Terrace is often stuck in the middle, getting the influx from both other cities but not always reaping all the same benefits, and that “Terrace needs something to help subsidize their tax base.”

Another question involved what the candidates would do to address the growing tension and conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities that both rely on fish and wildlife species for social, cultural, food usage in a way that is fair and equitable.

Halbauer said the community and stakeholders need to take a look at what is actually causing the salmon depletion in the area, and come together to collaborate and look at solutions that work for everyone.

“We’re fishing deeper, we’re fishing different species, we’re disrupting the food chain,” she said. “All of these things need to be addressed at an international level to ensure we have salmon stocks in the future.”

Ross agreed that it’s an international issue, and that local stakeholders need to come together to discuss and come up with a plan, as that’s often the only way governments will listen and respond to a community’s issue.

“We’ve actually got three user groups: we’ve got the commercial fishermen, we’ve got the sport fishermen, and we’ve got the First Nation fishermen,” he said, “and we all fight for what’s left after the international fishery takes its share.”

Holzbauer agreed with Ross and Halbauer’s statements, and said that it’s important to find the common ground between those who use the resources. He acknowledged that the fishing industry was a larger resource in the past, one that has diminished over the decades, and that it’s absolutely something that needs to be addressed.

The event ended with the candidates’ closing statements, each promising to help Skeena if elected, in their own, personal way.

“If the people of Skeena choose to elect me, I will do the best to represent them — all of them — but also I think diversity in not just jobs, local economy, but also within all of us is important,” Holzbauer said. “And like I said before, it makes the world a much more interesting place to live in.”

Ross concluded by emphasizing his focus on resource development and the economy, as well as the need to focus on mental health supports throughout the pandemic and going forward.

“I believe with a strong economy we can get those good-paying jobs for our region and take care of those who need it,” he said. “In conclusion, I want to ask a question back to Skeena: what do you want Skeena to be?”

Halbauer said, if elected, she would work in collaboration with all community members and local stakeholders to make sure the issues addressed at the event, along with the others in her and BC NDP’s platform, are dealt with as promised.

“I spent a lot of my life having my voice silenced, and I will not be a part of doing that to anybody else,” she said.

“If you have an issue, you can come to me. I’m here to serve. I’m here to work hard for you.”



clare.rayment@northernsentinel.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read