Updated — video now available from the last “all” candidates forum where Anders attended. Click here to watch to go to my Video page and scroll down to the video.
Last Sunday there was an ‘all’ candidates forum organized by Just Vote, a non-partisan group that wants to bring constituents and candidates together for discussion. Unfortunately the group was not permitted to advertise it widely because there was another ‘all’ candidates forum scheduled at the community association later in the month. I still don’t completely understand the rationale behind that stipulation.
Anyway, the forum that was scheduled for later in the month, incidentally organized by the official agent for the incumbent, was canceled because some of the candidates would not attend. I know for a fact that I and Janice Kinch were committed to being there.
I was not aware of the ban on advertising the Just Vote forum and so I did advertise it on my website, Facebook and Twitter. There were about eighty people in attendance, but I have since heard that many constituents are disappointed that they did not know that it was happening.
This week there was another ‘all’ candidates forum arranged. Again, it was well organized in a short period of time and I advertised it as I did the last one. Because it was at a seniors centre it was scheduled for the daytime. Most of the attendees were seniors who lived in the area but I met several people from the community who had read about the event on my website and were glad they could attend.
I am hopeful that there will be another forum scheduled before Monday and I encourage you to keep checking my Events page for updates.
I’ve learned a great deal from the two forums I’ve attended during this campaign. I’ve learned that the majority of people in Calgary West are very gracious, friendly and respectful people. They ask intelligent questions about issues that are important to them. I’ve had questions ranging from how parties would like to improve our health care system, to banning heckling in Question Period.
I have sincerely enjoyed the air of mutual respect between myself, Janice Kinch and André Vachon at these forums and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
Today I was full expecting another forum like last week’s, but I was in for a surprise. The incumbent, Rob Anders, was in attendance. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since the venue is across the street from his campaign office. Perhaps the media attention about the absence of Conservative candidates from the forums has led to a cross-country change in tactics and the result is the attendance of these candidates. Whatever the reason, I know that the people who attended had many questions for him.
The forum was scheduled to last exactly one hour. It could not go longer than that because there was a Bingo game to be set up in that space right afterward. However, after forty minutes Mr. Anders suddenly left. One man was very upset that he was leaving because he had a very specific question to ask him and followed him out the door. His question was not answered. He was outraged.
I can’t imagine what could be more important than attending a candidates forum during a campaign. I didn’t consider it a hardship to stay the extra fifteen minutes. Besides, I spoke with many of the attendees prior to the forum and I know that there were several Conservative voters there. The forum was moderated very well with no partisan behaviour tolerated.
I will be uploading some photos and a video later tonight. I think it’s important that you be able to witness the forum since many of you were not able to attend.