Bob Simpson

Quesnel Municipal Elections 2014: All Candidates Forum at Royal Canadian Legion October 28 by Arthur Topham



Arthur Topham

Editor & Publisher,


QUESNEL, B.C.:- The 2014 Quesnel Municipal Elections got off to a great start this year with the first All Candidates Public Forum held at the Royal Canadian Legion on Tuesday evening, October 28th.

By 7 p.m. the hall was full to capacity and commencing with a few brief introductory remarks from Quesnel District Chamber of Commerce President Graham Armstrong the business of moderating the evening's performance was turned over to Simon Turner of the Quesnel Rotary Club.

Simon, as per usual at Legion events, called upon the audience to rise up on their feet and then initiated a few moments of silent meditation and prayer followed by a rousing chorus of "Oh Canada". Then he proceeded to enlighten the audience on the organizational format that was to be followed throughout the evening.

Keeping with recent precedents set over the past few years the public attending the forum were told that if they had questions for the candidates that they would have to submit them via writing. The questions would then be picked out of whatever candidate's box they were placed in and hopefully they would get an answer to their query.

Just how truly fair such a process is remains controversial as it basically nullifies a longstanding tradition in Western democracies wherein citizens who've taken the time to attend a forum find themselves no longer able to exercise their freedom to walk up to an open microphone and direct their concerns to whomever of the candidates that they wish to get a reply from. It also, unfortunately, opens the door for potentially partisan decisions on the part of those choosing the questions thus creating the possibility of adversely affecting the resulting dialogue.

Simon then explained to the audience how the little Christmas lights – green, yellow and red – (inserted into a small black wooden box and set up on a table in front of the long row of hopeful candidates) would light up and be used to signal the speakers so they didn't go over their allotted 3 minute time period for either presenting their views and platform or their reply to whatever question that might be asked of them. If, for whatever reason, they were to get too immersed in their  own oratory and failed to follow the sequence of coloured prompters then the person holding the stop watch would ring a warning bell and cut short any further excess of verbiage on the part of the would-be politician.

The audience, having understood how the game was to be played, were thus prepared and Simon called upon the two mayoral candidates to come up and present their opening remarks. The order of speaking was to be alphabetical and so Bob Simpson, the new challenger for the position of Mayor of Quesnel, was the first person up to the podium.

Simpson  gave a dynamic, positive and forward-looking speech to the audience outlining his reasons for why he felt he would be the best person to lead a council and the city over the next four year civic mandate. Bringing a love of the area and a wealth of ideas gained over his previous years of experience as Cariboo North's MLA, first as a Cabinet Minister for the NDP government and then as a sitting Independent, Simpson was able to confidently announce to the listening audience clearly reasoned perspectives and proactively viable solutions to the current issues relating to Quesnel's infrastructure and governance as well as outlining some of the more serious pending challenges facing the city due to the provinces changing economic landscape.

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B. Simpson: Will the Minister of Aboriginal Relations please tell this House what the government is going to do to address the issue that the Tsilhqot'in National Government have flatly rejected Prosperity mine in any form?

Hon. R. Coleman: I have been in extensive conversations with the Tsilhqot'in over the last number of months. Over that period of time we've been dealing with their issues and looking at their long-term economic opportunities. Many of them affect not just mineral exploration in their particular area of British Columbia but also opportunities in power and in mills and opportunities with them being involved in IPP and those types of opportunities.
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[Editor's Note: The need for high speed internet in those rural areas of the Cariboo still forced to rely upon either Telus dial up or else so-called "high speed" satellite internet services such as has never been more urgent or greater.

It boggles the mind to think that residents of the Cariboo who, for whatever reasons, are living outside the reach of the normal high speed that the urban dwellers now take for granted still have to contend with the vast array of challenges that face them when using the net.

Of any I ought to know. I've been involved in the publishing industry for well over a decade now and for much of that time had to rely upon my local ISP for dial up service. It was only in the last 3 or 4 years that satellite "high speed" was available but even that is a misnomer for it still is not anywhere near as "high" as what the cable provides and thus is extremely limiting for anyone who requires a fully functioning high speed.

Satellite internet is also very costly and yet even with it many of the functions that city dwellers take for granted are still unavailable. Watching YouTubes or video via satellite high speed or performing video conferencing or sending any appreciable amount of email to one's list or lists is basically still impossible or else so time consuming that it's not worth the effort.

I therefore applaude MLA Simpson's efforts to expedite a swift transition toward a fully functioning service.]











         Bob Simpson
Independent MLA Cariboo North

Media Release
For Immediate Release
October 31, 2011

Bob Simpson, Independent MLA for Cariboo North presented a petition today in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia on behalf of hundreds of constituents calling for the expansion of broadband internet services to rural areas of Cariboo North.   This petition comes as the Provincial Government has entered into an agreement with Telus for a $1-billion internet and cellular expansion project called "Connecting British Columbia" to be implemented over the next 10 years.

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