With local elections just around the corner, North Shore News reporters are busy with a dizzying round of all-candidates meetings.
Like them or hate them, the forums are a staple of election campaigns.
It can be a gruelling schedule – for both candidates and voters. Depending on their format and who’s organizing them, forums can definitely skew in favour of some candidates and against others.
This week a group of Building Bridges’ candidates decided to forgo one District of North Vancouver candidates forum entirely. There have been other no-shows at other North Shore candidates’ forums, but none that appeared as pointed.
So, given that detailed policies likely won’t get answered in the one- or two-minute time slot allotted, what are all-candidates meetings good for?
Glad you asked.
At their most basic, such meetings are one of the few places voters have to see most of the candidates in person and to compare their knowledge and demeanours somewhat directly.
It’s also a small microcosm of what goes on at council chambers every week and watching how candidates handle themselves can be telling. Politics is a tough gig and an important one.
Not every question councillors deal with is reasonable. Not every constituent is friendly. If dealing with complex questions in a compressed time frame alarms you, maybe elected office isn’t your thing.
There are other ways to connect with candidates – phone calls, chats on the doorstep, email. But showing up to debates, we’d suggest, is at the very least respectful of those whose views candidates hope to represent.
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