The Conservative candidate isn’t coming to tomorrow night’s federal all-candidates meeting in Courtenay.

Byron Horner won’t be taking part in the meeting at the Florence Filberg Centre, noted co-organizer Dave Mills.

Mills said the Liberal, NDP, and Green candidates will be there. He noted that the Conservatives “declined the invitation to attend the debate.”

In a statement, Horner said he’s made commitments to speak with students and voters in Ucluelet that afternoon and evening. 

He added that he “looks forward to participating in the Courtenay All-Candidates Meeting on October 9th.”

The focus of tomorrow night’s forum is climate change. It’s titled  ‘Canada and the Climate Crisis.’

During the meeting, residents of the Courtenay-Alberni riding will have an opportunity to hear where their candidates stand on the issue.

Mills noted that climate change is top of mind in Courtenay and across the nation.

“Polling across Canada has shown climate change as rising to the top of the agenda for the vast majority of Canadians,” he said.

He pointed to last Friday’s youth-led climate strike as a prime example of how important the issue is to local residents.

During the strike, roughly 3,000 people gathered at Simms Millennium Park before marching through the city.

“That’s a sizable chunk of the population,” Mills said. “It’s probably the largest demonstration the Comox Valley has seen in living memory. I would suggest that the climate crisis is top of mind for people here.”

Mills took Horner to task for not attending.

“I think, by every indication on Facebook, that it’s going to be close to selling out so I think if people want to attend this they should get there early, and maybe give their local Conservative candidate a call,” he said. 

“I think people are going to want to hear, or possibly would be concerned, that the Conservative candidate wouldn’t be attending a debate or a forum with this much support, and an issue this important.”

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Visit it on Facebook.

It’s being presented by a partnership of the following organizations: Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, Cumberland Community Forest Society, Dogwood, The United Church, The Unitarian Fellowship, Project Watershed, K’omoks First Nation, World Community, and Youth Environmental Alliance.