Meet the Municipal Candidates

The Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce has picked up the ball and will be holding an all-candidate meeting at the Best Western on October 10.  The format will be similar to the one used in 2014 and once again will be called Speed Campaigning (see photo below of Larry Sherwin’s table in 2014).  The idea is that all candidates (including for English Public School Board Trustee) will sit at tables and citizens will have five minutes to ask them direct questions before the candidate rotates to another table.  With 9 candidates for Council, 2 for deputy Mayor and 4 for English Public School Board Trustee, that means at least 15 tables.  Attendance is limited to 125 people and they want people planning to attend to register in advance.

Speed Campaigning - 2014
Speed Campaigning – 2014

Event Description by Chamber of Commerce

As pre-registered guests arrive at the event, they will individually be assigned to different tables, where they will be joined by other random participants for Opening Remarks from the Chamber and brief platform statements from each of the participating candidates.  Following that overview, the candidates will each take a seat at different tables and a bell will ring, signaling the beginning of five uninterrupted minutes of discussion, debate, questions and answers in a free-form, round-table conversation.  After five minutes, the bell rings again, and all candidates get up and move to the next table, repeating the process until every candidate has met with every table…..

“This new format provides an opportunity for our members and the general public to ask direct questions and get answers in a more personal and intimate setting than a traditional staged format allows” observed NCCofC Government Relations Committee Chair Scott McCracken.  “The format allows exponentially more questions to be posed from more people in the same amount of time, and there will be a networking opportunity after the round table sessions for follow-up or extended discussion with the individual candidates.”

The chamber extended sincere thanks to the Cobourg Taxpayers Association for generously providing the venue.

In 2014, all but two candidates participated so hopefully there will be a good attendance this year. One notable difference from the 2014 event is that it will also include the candidates for the English Public School Board Trustee (see list of these here). 

More campaign questions

To assist candidates in getting the word out, in a couple of weeks I will be asking all Municipal Candidates seven leading campaign questions.  Their answers, short or long but with a limit on the total, will be published on this site before October 10.


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22 August 2018 7:09 pm

Great idea and opportunity for the candidates, lousy idea for the approximately 15,000 (less 125) eligible voters in Cobourg.

Deborah OConnor
20 August 2018 2:45 pm

I can’t say I like this format much, it’s too restrictive as planned. Thinking back to the 2014 election I attended a well organized all candidates meeting open to everyone with no pre-registration required. It was held at the Cobourg Community Centre, organized by the same Chamber of Commerce who have instead opted for this restrictive event in its place. An issue of space perhaps? Or preference? We’ll never know and we weren’t asked which format we wanted.

Here’s a newsaper article describing that 2014 event (for the doubters). It stood out in my mind because it was a successful, well attended event that gave voters a chance to collect the information needed to make our voting choices. Our questons were collected by the organizers, sorted and then brought to the floor. For candidates, it was the only chance they had to state their case and perform for the public. We need to do that again!

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
20 August 2018 3:26 pm

Yes I liked that format too.
Seems to me that there was speed-meet-the-candidates format to start.
Questions in writing were collected.
Then the candidates for the various positions answered questions on strict time limit format.
The trustees started, then the councillor candidates, followed by Deputy Mayor, and then Mayor,
The evening ended with a spirited debate between Gil Brocanier, Don Kirkup and Miriam Mutton.
Hope I have this right, that there were no questions and follow-up questions from the floor.

Walter L. Luedtke
20 August 2018 10:54 am

Alas, my learned friend Manfred does not get the mindset of the CTA folks on this blog.
They want an All-Candidates meeting IN PUBLIC, so they can badger and harass the candidates about their fave topics, i.e. Holdco, consultants, bloated Town Staff, question period. policing etc etc.
They will want to pin the candidates down, so they can later ‘hold their feet to the fire’.
This is why most candidates wanted nothing to do with the CTA-sponsored event.
Chuckles, the candidates have read this blog and they know what they would be in for.
Since none of CTA big guns are running, their fellow-travellers have no skin in the game.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
20 August 2018 11:13 am

Shock /horrors …..the public voters desiring to have an open public meeting with candidates to ask about issues of importance to them…..Badgering and harassing taking place!
Have you ever attended one in person?
How else can the voters be aware of who/what the candidates are if they don’t.?
One on one privately is the best method or just go with the flow ?
As is identified,the marina expansion/boat lift issue is at the forefront so is everyone supposed to contact the candidates individually to get their stance ?
In a public meeting ,the answer is available to all concerned attendees simultaneously…..done .
It appears that you have all the knowledge re political/candidacy and strategies.
You must have run for office at some level in your time obviously.
Were you successful ?
Please enlighten us on what are the best honest strategies but
please try to be brief because some of us have mindsets that aren’t in agreement with yours.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Bill Thompson
20 August 2018 11:25 am

This is new! Usually you tell me to shut up.

manfred s
Reply to  Bill Thompson
20 August 2018 12:11 pm

…and if such a gathering is on a day and time that conflicts with personal schedules, what do you suggest as a remedy?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  manfred s
20 August 2018 1:56 pm

If the media is involved (which I would highly expect) if you can’t attend the meeting and your concern isn’t addressed THEN email/telephone the candidate(s) about it for a personal response.

manfred s
Reply to  Bill Thompson
20 August 2018 6:22 pm

…and voila, with your solution Bill, we’re back to my original point, just contact the candidates yourself and ask the questions exactly as you want to. Why have your questions at those all-candidates meetings subject to editing, paraphrasing and/or watering-down as part of a combination question (all in the interest of saving time and avoiding repetition, of course), that gets a cursory response at best? So, which makes more sense?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  manfred s
20 August 2018 10:27 pm

Face to face interaction is the best process for multiple reasons to make determination on who one will vote for.
Their reaction /response to a question ,confidence /non confidence ,body language ,knowledge ,as well as we seeing the applicants in the flesh for future recognition vice just a voice over a telephone line or through email etc.
Basic stuff but more productive in my view.

Reply to  manfred s
22 August 2018 11:41 am

I guess I agree my BUT is that I’ve not experienced any enthusiasm, from current council, for responding to questions. I would expect a similar interval particularly with yes/no type Qs. I most definitely agree that face time is essential, in an open, well attended venue is best.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
20 August 2018 11:36 am

You’re right, an all candidates meeting in public would be a terrible idea. We don’t need open discourse with our candidates. Better that a select few (125) meet them privately. The general electorate doesn’t need to know the back and forth and opinions of our candidates.
Walter, you are obsessed with, and paranoid about, the CTA. Heck, even your pal Wally said he stands with them on some issues. As I bet you do.
Be careful, they might be hiding under your bed tonight.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Frenchy
20 August 2018 11:41 am

Don’t remove Walter’s raison d’etre !……..😊

manfred s
20 August 2018 9:41 am

anyone who has questions for one or more candidates is surely capable of contacting those candidates personally to get them answered or even engage them in a discussion. There is no need to depend on public gatherings or media to get answers to your questions. Sometimes it just seems we get all bent out of shape because someone else is not willing to do these things FOR us.

Reply to  manfred s
20 August 2018 9:49 am

Nobody is bent out of shape and I’m not asking anyone to do anything for me.
I think public gatherings work great. You might think of some good questions that I didn’t. I’d love to hear both questions and answers. You would think public gatherings and media coverage is what candidates would want to help get the message out. They even buy media time.

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
20 August 2018 12:07 pm

there’s nothing to stop the candidates from organizing their own “gathering” to publicize their views and ambitions, or to stop you from organizing one, if you feel strongly about it. Saying they’re great or important and then waiting for someone else to take the initiative is what I’m criticizing.

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
20 August 2018 12:26 pm

from personal experience, I don’t buy into the notion of unbiased ‘informative value’ of coverage of election issues by the media. I would much prefer personal interaction and information dissemination that I can vette and control than be victimized by presumtuous “reporting” characterized as ‘impartial facts and analysis’. In those all candidate meetings, the venue cannot allow for clear and fully developed responses to questions being asked, especially pertaining to complex issues. Direct one-on-one is still the best way to arrive at one’s own conclusions about the candidates.

Reply to  manfred s
20 August 2018 1:30 pm

And that’s OK. I’m not going to criticize you for thinking that way and I don’t understand the criticism of me for stating my preferences.

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
20 August 2018 1:54 pm

if I have read more into YOUR comments than what was being said, Frenchy, I apologize.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  manfred s
20 August 2018 11:21 am

Your rationale somewhat appears to resemble our town council’s refusal to have a Q & A period at meetings unlike the majority of other Northumberland councils. Is that just a coincidence of mindsets ?

manfred s
Reply to  Bill Thompson
20 August 2018 12:01 pm

just saying that there are options, beyond organized gatherings, to access election candidates. Of course there are always those who simply sit back and complain about what someone else isn’t doing.

20 August 2018 8:14 am

Yes a stage debate there they can’t be saved by the Bell so to speak when they don’t like the questions
Hopefully the Press can cover all those tables at the same time

Reply to  perplexed
20 August 2018 2:54 pm

Totally agree. Publicly articulated questions, followed by responses in public is best for the Public. Obviously there are candidates that don’t feel comfortable with this ‘openness’. Doesn’t auger well for prospects of ever achieving a comfort level for say —- Q&A at Council. Further, certainly this format allows the candidate the opportunity to disavow what they may have said at the table. Given level of ‘our’ public apathy I’m not so optimistic that 125 can be found. Nevertheless a plan is afoot and maybe the 125 can be coordinated by the media to provide a list of questions, answers provided and by whom.

manfred s
Reply to  gerinator
20 August 2018 5:18 pm

if, on one hand, “Given level of ‘our’ public apathy I’m not so optimistic that 125 can be found” how do you make the argument for a full blown public meeting on the other?Which is it? Either way, maybe you should organize one or the other instead of waiting for someone else to do it. How hard can it be? 😉

Reply to  manfred s
22 August 2018 10:42 am

My differentiators are ‘public and public-by-media’. I don’t feel the format employed will provide the opportunity for media capture of the Q&A that will go on (hence report-able to the general public), further whatever numbers of ‘public’ do show up will collectively hear the Q&A.

20 August 2018 7:54 am

“Meet the Municipal Candidates”
Well, 125 Cobourgers will. What about the rest of us?

This is a great opportunity for those registered guests to get up close and personal with all the candidates. How do the rest of us benefit? We don’t get to hear the answers to all these questions.
A traditional stage debate format might cut down on each candidate’s time and total number of questions asked, but at least it can be broadcast, as our council meetings are, so everyone can see and hear the candidates’ responses.