The purpose of this letter is to clear up a few misconceptions expressed by Mr. Joe Hildes of Windermere in the September 25th, 2015 issue of The Pioneer. (1) The Columbia Valley Chamber did not change the format of the All-Candidates Forum; (2) weve never organized an All-Candidates Debate; (3) we didnt bow to anyones wishes we simply stuck with what has worked in the two previous elections. In 2013, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce conducted its first All-Candidates Forum. At that time, the organization decided that a forum rather than a debate would be more productive and informative for voters.
In the format that we use, the public is encouraged to submit questions online, and a committee of community members reviews the questions and identifies the issues that are of utmost importance to the community at large.
When we first used this format in the 2013 provincial election, the attendees at the forum and the candidates expressed appreciation for the format as all the issues were addressed and any attempt for attendees to grandstand or candidates to stack the room was avoided. Our format also provides no opportunity for a moderator to be perceived as favouring one candidate over another as they have a fairly tight script.
We used this format again in the civic elections in 2014 and saw no reason to change for the upcoming October 19th federal election.
Susan Clovechok, Executive Director
Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce