Around 400 people came out to hear MLA hopefuls, including B.C. Premier Christy Clark, face off in the Westside-Kelowna byelection debate last night.
Many of the eight candidates attacked Clark, who has parachuted into the race from Vancouver after losing her seat in the recent provincial election.
The NDP's Carole Gordon was especially critical of Clark's performance as Premier.
"Unemployment is up in the Okanagan, 31,000 private sector jobs have been lost in two years under Christy Clark's leadership. Twelve thousand more people have left B.C. than have come here,” she said.
“And we have the second slowest economic growth of any province under Christy Clark's leadership. You can keep saying we have a strong economy, but we don't."
But Clark didn’t attack her political opponents as she did in the spring provincial election campaign, instead making a number of promises to grow the economy in the riding, especially in the agriculture sector.
“Expand the tree fruit replant program so that it's more sustainable. A school fruit and vegetable program, so that we can buy from local producers and provide that to producers across British Columbia."
Clark also promised to work towards building a second bridge across Okanagan Lake.
"Let's get to work on it now,” she said. “If we can do it in the Lower Mainland, we can do it here now. And I think that work here should start right away."
Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw scoffed at that idea.
"Sometimes I wonder whether she is Christy Clark or Kris Kringle based on all of the promises that she makes."
Five other candidates also participated in the debate, including four independents and a Vision Party candidate.
The byelection is slated for next Wednesday.