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NDP passes on in-person all-candidates event in Surrey, citing rising COVID-19 cases

Surrey Board of Trade held a ‘Federal Election Candidates Surrey Business Dialogue’ Wednesday at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford hotel
A person holds an Elections Canada voter information card after receiving it in the mail on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Canadians will go to the polls for the federal election on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Surrey’s NDP MP candidates bowed out of an in-person all-candidates meeting held Wednesday night by the Surrey Board of Trade because of rising Covid-19 case numbers.

The event, billed as a “Federal Election Candidates Surrey Business Dialogue,” was held at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. Anita Huberman, CEO of the board, said 90 people registered for the event “and half showed up.”

She said 10 candidates from other parties participated.

“That’s still good,” she said. “It was really good across the board in terms of issues related to Surrey, but from a federal context.”

READ ALSO: Federal election campaign slow to ignite in Surrey

Manveer Singh Sihota, regional organizer for the federal NDP, sent Huberman an email saying the NDP is “encouraging to the best of our ability to make this campaign as virtual as possible to keep our communities safe in this pandemic.

“Given the rising case numbers, and the unavailability of a Zoom option, we will unfortunately not be able to confirm any of our NDP candidates,” Sihota told Huberman. “We are taking precautions to ensure all candidates, organizers, and communities are safe as we enter these last crucial days of the campaign. We would, however, be open to an option where the event can be reworked into a digital one with a representative from each party participating over Zoom.”

Huberman said the event followed “all current guidelines” issued by the provincial health officer, under the provincial NDP government, “which allows for event of this nature as long as all health guidelines are followed.”

On Wednesday, recorded 814 new cases on Wednesday, with 241 of those in Fraser Health.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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