Up until now, there had been only one All-Candidates meeting/debate scheduled and that was by a joint effort of the CTA and Northumberland 89.7 on October 10 – but now it has been cancelled. The radio station issued a statement that there was a disagreement on format but the CTA (Cobourg Taxpayers Association) said that the problem was that some Candidates did not want to participate if it was organized by the CTA. It seems that the venue has been reserved and paid for and it is hoped that another organization will take over and hold the much needed forum for Candidates to air their platforms. Although the Mayor has been acclaimed, there are still important contests for Deputy Mayor and Council.
The two organizations offered somewhat different explanations but the end result is that they will no longer co-sponsor a Candidates’ debate.
Northumberland 89.7 local Radio
John Hill issued the following statement to Candidates:
As I advised earlier, Northumberland 89.7 planned to partner with the Cobourg Taxpayers Association to promote, moderate and broadcast a municipal all candidates’ debate. Unfortunately, Northumberland 89.7 and the CTA could not reach agreement on the format. Accordingly each side has determined the planned debate should not go ahead. Please be advised that the October 10 date should no longer be held open unless some other civic minded organization opts to use the date and rented facilities.
Northumberland 89.7 will continue to cover all aspects of the race and candidates will be contacted to appear on air over the course of the next few months.
Subsequently, Barry Walker, Chair of the board of Northumberland 89.7 FM issued an additional statement in response to the CTA Press release. A full copy is in the links below but basically it says that they understood the event was cancelled by CTA. Further, Barry said “It is our hope that something yet may be worked out so the event can proceed.”
Cobourg Taxpayers Association
Lydia Smith, President of the CTA issued a Press Release – a link to their full statement is below the following summary:
The Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) announced today that they are withdrawing from hosting the municipal all candidates event. They were to co-host with 89.7 FM.
“Apparently, some candidates are concerned that CTA’s past activities and delegations to council illustrate a political viewpoint and they do not wish to participate in a CTA sponsored forum. This is unfortunate. It is a disservice to our community and to public engagement. Our primary interest is to help our community to thrive.”
“It is unfortunate that 89.7 FM, as an important media outlet in our community, decided not to proceed with the all candidates meeting.”
The CTA did offer the “reserved and paid for” ballroom at the Best Western to 89.7 FM for their exclusive or partnered use. The radio station declined.
Smith added, “The Cobourg Taxpayers Association will attempt to find another community-minded group or media organization, who will host the event. Suggestions from the public, media or civic groups are welcome.”
In addition, Lydia told me in an email: “You could actually say that the CTA withdrew because of lack of interest from the candidates. Out of the 9 invitations sent to councillor candidates, 6 did not send any kind of a reply or even acknowledge that they received our invitation. Out of the 2 invitations to Deputy Mayor candidates, only 1 replied.”
Let’s hope that someone will pick up the ball.
Meanwhile, both organizations are planning to help candidates publicize their views: 89.7 FM will be interviewing candidates on the radio and the CTA will be using their web site to publicize candidates’ answers to questions. Cobourg News blog will also be doing something similar closer to the election.
- CTA Press Release
- CTA Web site
- Northumberland 89.7 FM Press Release
- Northumberland 89.7 FM Web site
- Cobourg Internet Election Information page – Updated as information comes available.