Following a nationwide trend, the Conservative candidate in DMCR has refused to attend a number of debates. Truth be known, he's not the only Conservative candidate in this country avoiding the press. So says The Star.
September 29, 2008
Conservative incumbent Rob Clarke a no-show in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
Voters in Saskatchewan's most northern riding won't have a chance to take a closer look at and listen to their Conservative candidate, Rob Clarke, who is systematically avoiding all opportunities to be scrutinized by the voters.
He was a no-show at a meeting organized by the Meadow Lake Chamber of Commerce on September 25th, merely sending his organizer to leaflet the audience, and he has not responded to an invitation from the La Ronge Chamber of Commerce either for an October 1st event. (This is the style of campaigning that Mr. Clarke adopted earlier when he pulled out of a radio debate in the March by-election as well.)
In an interview with Saskatoon Star Phoenix, September 20th, Mr. Clarke explained that "he has several reasons for taking a pass on the forum planned for Meadow Lake Sept. 25: His schedule is full; he doesn't want to get into a debate before the leaders' debate Oct. 2 for fear of contradicting leader Stephen Harper; and he's not a big fan of forums in any case." He also added that, "usually with a debate, you only get about 20 people to show up."
There were multiples of 20 constituents attending the Meadow Lake debate, and many had come to raise important questions with their former MP and potential future MP among the five who are running. David Orchard, Liberal candidate for the riding, commented on his opponent's non-presence: "I think it's not right when an elected representative... refuses to stand in front of the people who pay his salary, and defend his ideas. I think Mr. Clarke is doing a disservice to the people of Meadow Lake and his riding by failing to show up."