Let’s have a real debate
It’s official. Aylmer’s municipal election debate kicks off at 6 pm, Thursday, October 12. Mark that date and, for the sake of our big city, make that date.
Why? This may be the sole opportunity for most voters to see their ballot-box choices in “real time”, talking about real issues and answering real questions. Most of us can’t attend or watch council meetings. Most of us don’t follow the details of council’s issues, decisions, challenges, and accomplishments. Most can’t name more than one or two councillors, and few can identify our mayor – yet this is our real government!
City government is close government – its nose is in our back yards, our trash cans, and our property taxes. This is the government that keeps law and order on our own streets – not in Syria! – it keeps our streets smooth and our water flowing. No glamorous trade talks, nuclear arms, or outrageous celebrity leaders, but working men and women who deal with our daily problems and daily solutions. Shunning city elections is a bit like leaving on a vacation with your back door unlocked – Hello!
It is important that this debate is organized by our local newspaper – the real, fact-checked media. The Bulletin has staged these debates before and has the reach in our community to get voters out and to ensure that candidates don’t shrug off our concerns and decline. An empty seat with their name tag makes a hugely negative impression.
The Bulletin’s expertise includes its multiple connections in all sectors of our community – from business to religious to minorities, you name them. And the Bulletin is known to be impartial. A Hull councillor’s recent penalty for cooperating with a developer’s video shows the importance of an arms-length relationship with all the candidates and all the interest and pressure groups of our city. Many groups don’t have this arms-length.
Lastly, the Bulletin has the means to gather questions from all individuals, sectors, groups and interests – and get the answers, delivered in pubic.
Individual voters will make this work. They see and hear candidates in real time, not in rehearsed speeches or front-door pitches, not in their advertisements or promotions. It’s important to see our future councillors and mayor respond to community-centred questions, not the usual softballs tossed their way.
Real-time allows each of us our own gut reaction – our heart’s reaction – and these are central. We will hear new facts, predictions, coming problems, novel solutions, and historical perspectives.
October 12 is when our city’s next four years begin. Be there!