The Liberals were not in attendance during Thursday night’s CATCH all candidates public forum which focused on childcare, poverty, affordable housing and issues with those tranisitioning from childhood to adulthood.
The NDP appeared to have to most support, with members of the public donning orange.
When asked how each party plans to help children in care find stable homes, NDP Kelowna West candidate Shelley Cook became passionate about the issue.
“We do a horrible job at transitions and this one for youth in care is the worst. This is a time of increased vulnerability for these youth and they don’t have their family support,” she said.
The NDP plans to increase funding agreements for young adults aging out of care by $10 million as well as strengthen connections with post secondary institutions, and implement all the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
“It is time we do right, and when we do we’re going to make sure we have aboriginal organizations supporting those kids. We need to do this. The time is now,” said Cook.
Her answers earned applause from audience members and some of the Green Party candidates throughout the night.
While Liberal Norm Letnick was at an all candidates forum in Lake Country, there was no representation from the Liberals at the Kelowna forum.
When asked about how the party will help children transition out of foster care, Green party Kelowna West candidate Robert Mellalieu referred to a liveable wage.
“We had a kid come by our house several years ago to mow our lawn… I met that kid on the street the other day because he aged out of foster care… that is not going to happen with the Green party. We have a basic liveable income that will help children transition from child and youth services… I don’t want to see any more kids that mowed my lawn end up on the street.”
In attendance were: Kelowna Mission Conservative candidate Charles Hardy, NDP Kelowna-Mission Harwinder Kaur Sandhu, Cook, Independent Brian Thiesen, Robert Stupke who was standing in for Green Kelowna-Lake Country candidate Alison Shaw, Mellalieu and Kelowna Mission Green candidate Rainer Wilkins.
The forum was held at the Hollywood Road Education building, Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. and was hosted by the Community Action Toward Children’s Health (CATCH) coalition, which is a partnership of individuals and organizations working for child welfare in the city.