Three candidates running in Cariboo North took questions from members of the public, curated by the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Three candidates running in Cariboo North took questions from members of the public, curated by the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. VOTES 2020: Three of four Cariboo North candidates face off in only confrontation of election

The all-candidates forum for 2020 in Quesnel was streamed over Facebook to keep COVID-19 risks down

When delivering her opening remarks during the only all-candidates forum of the election, Coralee Oakes’s microphone wasn’t on.

Normally it would be an easy fix, as people attending the forum would easily be able to communicate that to organizers, but not in 2020. The forum was only viewable through the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page due to COVID-19 restrictions. After improving audio quality so livestream participants could hear better, Oakes went through her opening remarks again.

As candidates struggle through a campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, engaging with the public has become a challenge.

The Chamber of Commerce curated questions submitted by residents, which three of the four candidates answered one at a time. The NDP’s Scott Elliott, incumbent B.C. Liberal Oakes and the Green Party’s Douglas Gook were all in attendance, sitting far apart to follow physical distancing guidelines.

The B.C. Conservative candidate, Kyle Townsend, was not at the forum.

Over the two hours, candidates fielded questions on a variety of topics, including multiple questions on housing, roads, seniors and outlying areas’ relationships with the Cariboo Regional District.

Elliott said he believed the region needs an advocate inside the government and not sitting across the legislature in opposition, noting the NDP’s strong position in the polls means John Horgan will likely once again form government.

“We need to be heard in Victoria,” he said. “I want to bring the voice of North Cariboo and Quesnel forward so we’re all working together. There’s so many concerns in this area right now, and we need an effective MLA that will bring our voices forward.”

Oakes pointed to her record over the past two terms, saying she’s effectively advocated for the region while her party was sitting in government and from the opposition benches in Victoria.

“I just want to get work done,” she said. “Not just with the province, I’ve worked with the federal government too … I went through a significant list of projects I have delivered for this riding.”

Gook called on voters to reject both main parties.

“We do have an opportunity for a democratic reset,” he said. “I ask that you really take a look at the platform … and the Green Party’s role in the last legislature session.”

The Greens formed a partnership with the NDP to hold power during a minority government starting in 2017.

A video archive of the forum is available to watch on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Advance voting in Quesnel and Williams Lake has already begun, with record numbers of mail-in ballots requested, according to Elections BC. Mail-in ballots will not be counted until a week after the election date of Saturday, Oct. 24. With 35 per cent of eligible voters potentially requesting one, residents will be unsure of who will represent them in Victoria until weeks after the election.

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Advance voting begins today in Quesnel

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Looking back at 2017 Cariboo North numbers

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Quesnel is applying for grant funding to replace the Dragon Hill Reservoir, which staff says will improve overall water quality. (Photo courtesy of City of Quesnel)
City of Quesnel seeking grant to replace water reservoir

A new Dragon Hill Reservoir will improve overall water quality, according to City staff

Quesnel was hit with unseasonably October snowfall earlier this week. More is on the way on Sunday, Oct. 25 and Monday, Oct. 26, and Quesnel and North Cariboo are under a winter storm warning. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
“Hazardous” weather expected for Quesnel: Environment Canada

10-20 cm of snow and freezing rain are expected to start Sunday night

Kelly and Mila Bradley attended a drive-by volunteer event for Coralee Oakes. The incumbent B.C. Liberal is the preliminary leader for the Cariboo North. (Photo Submitted)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Coralee Oakes on track to reclaim Cariboo North seat

Mail-in ballots have not been counted, but the incumbent B.C. Liberal has 49.4 per cent of the vote

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read