Coalition puts a twist on all-candidates meeting

A coalition of Nanaimo neighbourhood and community groups is taking the traditional all-candidates meeting into cyberspace.

A coalition of Nanaimo neighbourhood and community groups is taking the traditional all-candidates meeting into cyberspace.

Instead of the traditional question and answer format, the Coalition for Democratic Nanaimo wants the public and candidates for city council to submit issues facing the community on a blog – http://democraticnanaimo.blogspot.com – prior to the Nov. 10 meeting at Beban Park Recreational Centre.

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Jennifer O’Rourke, a coalition spokeswoman, said the idea of the blog is nothing new, but the need for something more inclusive and not just a one-shot discussion has grown.

“A number of people feel the need for an opportunity to get to know who the candidates are, and what skills and background they have that has prepared them for the job,” she said. “The traditional question and answer format just doesn’t really test those skills.

“This seemed like a piece that would be useful to add to the process of a face-to-face meeting so there really is an open discussion about the issues the city faces rather than have the agenda predetermined by any one group.”

O’Rourke said the coalition had preliminary discussions with a few candidates to test the idea and received a good response.

“We’re also getting more neighbourhood and community groups indicating their support for the format,” she said. “The input received will shape the evening discussion and hopefully generate thoughtful debate about governing the city.”

The meeting, moderated by CBC Radio host Mark Forsythe, runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information, please e-mail cdncity@shaw.ca.