Open letter to the Chamber of Commerce

Pat Moss wants questions from the floor back at all candidates meeting

Editor,

I was disturbed to read the article “Chamber of Commerce to host all candidates forum Oct. 15” (Interior News, Sept. 11, 2019) and discover that you are eliminating the questions from the floor portion of the debate.

At a time when there is increasingly cynicism about politics, we should be doing everything we can to encourage public engagement rather than limit it. As a long time resident of the valley I have attended dozens of all candidates meetings in municipal, provincial, and federal elections. Up until now none of them have prohibited questions from the floor.

The process described in the article is that questions can be submitted to a committee who will then vet them. This carefully managed process is unlikely to engage the general public who are already feeling manipulated and disenfranchised. The public portion of all candidates meetings is one of the few opportunities people have to speak directly to candidates who are running to represent them.

While there is a “meet and greet” following the debate given the number of people attended it is unlikely that anyone could speak to more than one or two candidates. If as the article says, the reason for prohibiting questions from the floor is the time limitations of live streaming then I suggest you cut back on predetermined questions to ensure there is time for uncensored public discussion.

It is important that we encourage citizen participation in the political process and I ask you to reconsider your decision to eliminate questions from the floor.

Pat Moss

Smithers

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