Voters shut out at forum

Letters

Editor:

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.

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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

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