Monday, October 1, 2007

Candidates Forum Tonight

Tonight is the Chamber of Commerce forum for Candidates for Mayor and Alderman in the city. There will be some changes to the forum for those who have experienced them in the past; In previous years the forum has been at the GP Inn - this year it will be at the GPRC Theater, In previous years the forum has been broadcast by Channel 7 - this year, I've heard that there will not be any television coverage of the event.

It's really a big disappointment that the forum won't be recorded. I know that a lot of people caught the re-broadcasts leading up to the election (it was shown at least a couple of times a week) and enjoyed the ability to hear and consider everything, even if they weren't able to be in attendance.

Other than those changes the major thing affecting the event is simply the number of people running for Alderman. Everyone needs to get a chance to do an opening presentation, answer questions and finally to close the night off. With 16 people in the race the openings and closings have had to be cut short. The downside to this is that it's very difficult to convey any real depth in a speech of answer to a question if you've got a tiny time limit to do it in. Hopefully the public will be following up with the candidates afterwards to ask questions one on one.

I'll be at the forum early and stay late to meet with people and answer as many questions as I can.

Here's the forum agenda and rules as emailed out to candidates by the Chamber:

5:45 pm – All Candidates Report to Chair for Speaking Order & Format
6:00pm – Mayoral Forum
7:15 pm – Break
7:30 pm – Aldermanic Forum
9:50 pm – Closing Remarks

There will be tables for candidates to display information in the concourse area outside of the theater doors. Doors open at 5:00 pm for Candidates and 5:30 for the Public.

Rules & Regulations:
• The moderator for the forum will be Dr. Scott McAlpine of Grande Prairie Regional College.

• The facility will be opened at 5:00 pm for the candidates and their campaign workers in order to provide enough time to get organized for handing out or setting up pamphlets and literature.

• No signs may be posted in the room, nor attached to any walls, curtains, doors, etc.

• The doors for the public shall open at 5:30 pm.

• The candidates shall present themselves to the Moderator at the head table promptly at 5:45 pm to draw for the order of speaking.

• The forum will be called to order promptly at 6:00 pm, and the doors to the room will be closed. Anyone arriving late will only be seated between speakers so as to keep the disruptions to a minimum. We will adjourn at 10:00pm.

• The candidates will be seated alphabetically at the speakers’ table, starting on the right, facing the audience. In the moderator’s opening remarks, candidates will be introduced in alphabetical order.

• Candidates will have (3 minutes Mayoral) (2 minutes Aldermanic) to expand upon their political platform. The format of the presentation is at the discretion of the candidates. No candidates will be allowed more than their allotted time and the moderator will ask the candidate to be seated.

• During the question period, questions will be received from the floor in written or spoken form. The public will approach the microphone, identify themselves and address a question to one candidate. The ushers will read the written questions and address to one candidate. The moderator will use his discretion in balancing written and spoken questions. In an attempt to keep equal responses, each question directed at a candidate will be directed at another at the discretion of the moderator. In the case of general questions (not specifically directed), the moderator will use his discretion in addressing it toward one or more candidates. Not all candidates will necessarily have to opportunity to answer all questions.

• The moderator will rule out of order any question (s) deemed inappropriate, offensive and derogatory or that would seem to attack the integrity of any candidate.

• The moderator will rule out of order any person who unreasonably attempts to use the question period as a platform for expressing a point-of- view on any issue.

• Answers to questions will be limited to no more than two minutes in order to maximize the number of questions that can be fielded in the time allotted. The question period will be limited to 48 minutes (Mayoral) & 66 minutes (Aldermanic) . Depending on the number of questions evident, the moderator may further limit response to less than two minute at his discretion.

• Candidates will each have (2 minutes Mayoral) (1 minute Aldermanic) after the question period for a rebuttal or to summarize their platform.

• The moderator will have final jurisdiction in all matters.

Hope to see you there!

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