Education Minister Gordon Dirks was a no-show at an education forum in Calgary on Tuesday night.

Many people in the audience were annoyed by his absence at the debate, which was attended by many of the candidates for the other main parties.

"I just find it quite shameful," said high school teacher Sandi Nichol.

Jenny Regal, past president of the Alberta Teachers' Association local 38, says the minister's absence is an indication of his attitude toward teachers.

"Speaks volumes in his non-presence. I'm not sure he cares," she said.

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Alberta Party candidate and party leader Greg Clark says Gordon Dirks, Alberta's PC education minister, should have come out for an election forum on education issues on Tuesday night. (CBC)

"You have a saying in French, you shine by your absence. In this case I wouldn't saying shining. It's more like a shiner," said Alexandra Jurisic, who speaks for teachers in the Catholic school system.

Alberta Party candidate Greg Clark, who was at the meeting, said the education minister has a duty to speak directly to teachers.

"It just tells me everything I need to know about your lack of accountability."

A poll released on Monday by Mainstreet Technologies suggests Dirks is running neck-and-neck with Clark in the race for Calgary-Elbow.

Dirks told organizers that he could not attend the forum because he was out door knocking.