By John Swartz
One of the interesting things about elections is the debate the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce holds whether it’s a federal, provincial or municipal election. They really aren’t debates and the chamber has usually called them All Candidates Nights, except this year the word debate snuck in, because it’s merely a chance for candidates to face voters in public and answer their questions; they don’t really debate each other.
The last federal election felt off, not because of the outcome, but because there was no traditional candidate’s night. The chamber didn’t hold one, and if it hadn’t been for another group of politically active residents there wouldn’t have been one. That group got Rogers TV to point cameras at a version of an all candidates night for cable broadcast live and on repeat and gathered questions from the public, but with no live audience or participation from local media it felt strange.
For this provincial election City of Orillia council chambers will once again be the venue for candidates to face the media and voters on May 19 at 6:30 p.m. Over the years the chamber has developed a format that addresses chamber member’s , the media and the public’s concerns in a tight 2-hour frame.
The chamber’s candidates night are well moderated too; there won’t be any case like say an American presidential election where one person rides roughshod over everything and everyone because of boorish behavior.
As host the chamber surveys it’s members and gets its shot at candidates following their introductory speeches. The chamber is considering asking about candidates views regarding a new hospital, improving highway connections to Orillia, and improving business and internet legislation to support local economic development, so candidates know to prepare themselves on those issues and hope the question fits with their study.
Not mentioned in the chamber’s notification is a requirement to wear masks, this might be a consideration to be there or watch on TV. Don’t be late, since it’s televised it will start exactly on time.