I attended for a while the all-candidates meeting held in Gibsons on Saturday. I would like to express my concern about the format for the meeting. I expected there would be an opportunity for voters to ask questions and interact verbally with the candidates. Instead no such opportunity was offered. Voters were faced with a lineup of candidates who talked “at them” rather than “with them” from answers to questions that had been emailed previously to the organizers.
One part of assessing the preparedness of someone taking on the serious responsibilities of public office and testing the “mettle” of a candidate is their ability to field spontaneously questions posed to them by real, live people in a public forum, not from the safe distance of the Internet. The way this forum was organized projected a feeling of sterility and top-down control with no opportunity for interaction.
I do not think we could call this forum an example of real participatory democracy, as participation was definitely restricted. I hope the other all-candidates meetings on the Coast will allow for a real-time exchange between voters and candidates.
Pamela Forward, Roberts Creek