Saanich residents will get a second chance to hear from at least seven of the candidates running for the open seat on council.

Second forum added to Saanich byelection campaign

Saanich residents will get a second chance to hear from some of the candidates running for the open council seat.

Church of The Nazarene will host at least seven out of the 10 candidates running for a second all-candidates forum on Sept. 14, two days after the first all-candidates’ meeting on Sept. 12 at St. Aiden’s United Church. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the debate running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

While five community associations helped to organize the first, the second forum appears as a co-production of the candidates themselves, after candidate Rebecca Mersereau had offered to co-organize a second forum with other candidates.

Nathalie Chambers, Keith Davidoff, Michael Geoghegan, Karen Harper, Marsha Henderson, Shawn Newby, Art Pollard, Ned Taylor and Rob Wickson are also running for the seat, which has been open since the death of Vic Derman in March 2017.

As of early Thursday afternoon, seven candidates including Mersereau have confirmed their attendance. The others are Davidoff, Geoghegan, Harper, Newby, Pollard and Taylor. Mersereau said she remains hopeful all 10 candidates will participate.

Mersereau said the second forum is important, because Saanich voters would have had very little opportunity otherwise to hear and evaluate the viewpoints of candidates, so that they could make an informed decision.

“All candidates’ events increase transparency by requiring candidates to disclose their positions and intentions on important issues, and they importantly provide the public with a basis for holding elected officials to account when they do take office,” she said.

Mersereau said the format and the moderator for the forum remain to be determined. “It’s important that these two important aspects of the event planning not favour one or some candidates over others,” she said.

Mersereau said the seven candidates, who confirmed their interest were very receptive and responsive to the idea. “The most challenging part has been coordinating our busy schedules with the availability of an appropriate venue, since we anticipate a lot of interest and are hopeful for a big crowd,” she said.

This said, the process of putting together the forum has not been without difficulties, said Mersereau. “A couple of candidates voiced concerns about the unconventional approach of having the candidates co-organize and co-host the event, rather than an independent entity such as a community association or the media, due to possible perceptions of bias or undemocratic processes,” she said. “This is a valid concern and one that we all share.”

It would have preferable if third-party groups had organized additional forums, said Mersereau.

“But that appears unlikely at this advanced stage in the campaign, and I think the value of allowing voters opportunities to make a more informed decisions outweighs these risks,” she said. “On a personal level, I am viewing this as an opportunity to demonstrate that ‘bi-partisan’ collaboration is possible, and is welcomed by the public.”

Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association, Mount Tolmie Community Association, Camosun Community Association, Cadboro Bay Residents Association and Gordon Head Residents Associations are organizing the first forum on Sept. 12, which opens with a meet-and-greet from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The debate will take place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Advance voting will take place on Sept. 13 and 18 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Saanich Municipal Hall. General voting will take place on Sept. 23 at Cedar Hill rec centre, Gordon Head rec centre, Pearkes rec centre and Saanich Commonwealth Place.

Just Posted

B.C. needs Disability Act: Victoria council

Council motion asks province to make B.C. barrier free

Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship program awarded annually to undergraduate students

Three Sooke residents are among 163 B.C. Students who received a record… Continue reading

Victoria Police meet Aboriginal activists for afternoon flick

The group gathered as part of ongoing series of events supporting reconciliation efforts

Sooke hires two additional firefighters

Ben Temple and Grayson Kerr began Nov. 6

EMCS Sr. Girls volleyball team making Sooke history

Team headed to compete in Island championships for first time in 15 years this weekend

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

LETTER: CRD director has ally in water battle

Re: Juan de Fuca gets nod for mediation (News, Nov. 15) I… Continue reading

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Weekend hit list: Things to do in Greater Victoria

FRIDAY Find Mr. Nutcracker and his cousin Tommy Tempo as they visit… Continue reading

Most Read