There are a number of forums planned for our slate of Penticton candidates as we head into the final weeks leading up to the election.
But are they as valuable as is commonly accepted? Especially when there are 24 council candidates and three mayoral?
There was a lot of dialogue exchanged at the first all-candidates’ forum Tuesday, with a total of 69 individual questions being asked of the 23 candidates that turned out. Just how much new information anyone in the audience went home with is open to question.
Though there was a huge turnout for the Tuesday night forum, you also have to consider that a certain percentage of the crowd is already a supporter or perhaps even a campaign worker for one of the candidates on stage.
Certainly, many of the questions directed to particular candidates at these forums often seen tailor-made to address an issue the candidate has a popular position on.
Then, too, in the case of the Penticton forum, with so many candidates there is bound to be some misinformation, such as when Helena Konanz — originally from the U.S., though now a Canadian citizen — was questioned about her Republican leanings. Konanz, it turns out, was a member of the Democratic party in the U.S. (though she admitted she did vote Republican, on occasion).
Or the City of Penticton being blamed for putting the kibosh on a memorial for a fallen soldier in Veteran’s Park. That only happened after council was informed by the Royal Canadian Legion that it wasn’t proper protocol to honour an individual soldier that way.
Our message here is go to the forums, be part of the process and make the best use you can of the chance to interrogate a candidate and inform your vote. It’s up to you to make the process work the way it should.