Three all-candidates meetings for Surrey’s municipal election are around the corner.
The Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce is hosting the meetings in the atrium area of KPU’s Cloverdale Campus.
The series kicks off Oct. 4 with the school trustee meeting. City council candidates will answer questions Oct. 6. Candidates for mayor will meet Oct. 13, two days before voters hit the polls on Oct. 15.
“This is the most consequential election in our city in years,” said Scott Wheatley, executive director of the Cloverdale Chamber. “It is every voter’s responsibility to make informed decisions and to choose candidates that best match their vision for Surrey.”
The format is not set up as a face-to-face debate. The meetings will be moderated and candidates will all answer the same questions.
Wheatley added he doesn’t want the forums turning into “fist fights,” so anyone acting unruly will be asked to leave.
Chamber president Rebecca Smith will moderate the mayoral meeting and moderators for the other two meetings are yet to be announced.
“It’s important for the community to be able to make informed choices in the next election,” Wheatley said. “Whoever we pick for both councillors and mayor will have a huge impact on businesses.”
Wheatley said his three meetings are very timely—as opposed to other meetings that have run, or will run in September—as they rub right up against election day.
“It’ll be interesting to see which candidates show up to the three meetings and which candidates don’t,” said Wheatley. “I think the three meetings, being very close to the actual election date, will offer a timely forum for candidates to chat about their platforms.”
Wheatley thinks it will hurt a candidate if they’re not at the meetings.
“By that time, all the dirt should be out there for people to talk about. It’ll be important for all candidates to be able to answer fair questions.”
Wheatley said he thought Pauline Greaves suffered in the recent provincial by-election for the riding of Surrey-South after Greaves chose to skip the all-candidates meeting co-hosted by the Cloverdale Chamber and the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber.
“Empty seats are bad visuals,” he added. “If candidates want people to vote for them, they need to be accountable in public forums.”
Wheatley said with the sheer number of council candidates, they are only going to invite one or two candidates from each slate for the Oct. 6 meeting.
Admission to the all-candidates meetings is free, but registration is required. The Chamber prefers pre-registration, but if meetings have not reached capacity, walk-ins will be accepted.
The school trustees meeting will take place on Oct. 4 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., with doors opening at 1 p.m. The early start was offered to accommodate a school board function in the evening. To register to go to the school trustees meeting, visit the Chamber’s registration page.
The all-councillors meeting will run Oct. 6 from 7 to 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. To register to hear the council hopefuls, visit the Chamber’s registration page.
The Oct. 13 meeting will feature the mayoral hopefuls. That meeting will also run from 7 to 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. To register to hear the candidates for mayor, visit the Chamber’s registration page.
Questions for the candidates in any of the three meetings can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KPU’s Cloverdale Campus is located at 5500 180th Street in Cloverdale.
The 2022 B.C. municipal elections will be held Oct. 15.
For more info, visit cloverdalechamber.ca.