Open questioning at candidate meetings

Prior to past elections for Colwood mayor and council, so-called all-candidates meetings were held.

Prior to past elections for Colwood mayor and council, so-called all-candidates meetings were held.

The organizer of those meetings only allowed the public to ask questions of the candidates if they were handed in to the organizers prior to the actual event in order to be vetted.

The result of this procedure was that no questions of substance were allowed.

Those meetings were nothing other than self-gratifying schmoozing affairs during which the candidates bragged about how hard they were working on this or that.

They all took plenty of time to do that so that the allotted time for the meeting was used up without the public learning anything that was important or having a chance for meaningful input.

The consequence was, time and again, that Colwood kept muddling along for another legislative period to only fall further behind our neighbours in Langford.

Correction: they out-did Langford in one aspect: raising property taxes.

This time around it is high time to reassess this procedure and have the new people running for office insist on a different format for an all-candidates meeting.

After all, for a genuine democratic discourse in which individuals can participate in a meaningful way, there must be an open flow of information both to and, more important, from the citizenry.

We need conversations that are substantive and in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals evoke a meaningful response from the candidates.

There must be a new way of unleashing Colwood’s collective intelligence. We must make sure that reason no longer remains a slave to the egos of candidates who are looking for self-gratification.

Fritz Karger




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