Election 2014: Candidates can speak up

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is hosting an all-candidates meeting today (Nov. 4) at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Candidates will be looking to win a little love from potential voters during a new “speed-campaigning” event.

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce has added a speed-campaigning twist to its all-candidates forum at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre today (Nov. 4) for voters to question contenders running for city council and school board.

According to Kim Smythe, president and chief executive officer for the chamber, the idea came from a similar event tested in Cobourg, Ont., this year and gives voters the chance engage with candidates face-to-face without the filter of a moderator. He said he hopes the format gives the public a better chance to evaluate candidates.

People will be able to choose which candidates they speak to and have between five to seven minutes to ask questions before a bell signals the need to switch tables.

“Because we have a high volume of candidates, we’ve coined the term ‘speed campaigning’ to get as many people through all the candidates they wish to speak with,” Smythe said. “We expect that most people will come with a list of those candidates they’d like to speak to in person, rather than try to research all 59 candidates in one night.”

School trustee and council candidates will sit down with voters at 5 p.m. in the Mount Benson Ballroom at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Voters have a one-hour window for one-on-one conversations with the city’s mayoral candidates, beginning at 6:30 p.m., before the contenders are invited to speak and take questions raised by the audience at 8 p.m.

Other all-candidates meetings coming up

Ian Thompson, who is running for city council, announced last week that he will be organizing another all-candidates meeting next week for mayor and council candidates in Nanaimo.

“During my door-to-door campaign, the public has been requesting more opportunities to meet and hear candidates’ views on the upcoming election,” Thompson said in a press release.

That forum will be held Nov. 13 from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Beban Park social centre.

The Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association is hosting an all-candidates meeting for school trustee hopefuls Thursday (Nov. 6) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at John Barsby Secondary School.

School trustees will be participating in an all-candidates forum Nov. 13-14, also at Barsby, from 6:30-9 p.m. each night. Different candidates will participate each day.

An all-candidates meeting for the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area E (Nanoose Bay) will be held Monday (Nov. 10) at 7 p.m. at Nanoose Place, hosted by the Unified Residents Association of Nanoose Bay.