Election 2015: Chamber alters format for federal candidates forum

Questions from the floor will be welcomed at Oct. 6 event

Reconsidering format for the Oct. 6 political forum was one of the first tasks Audry Lochrie checked off her to-do list.

“I had to keep asking myself, ‘Who is this forum really for?’” says the new executive director of the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce. “And the answer is, ‘it’s for you, the public.’”

The original plan was to give candidates a heads up with questions prior to the Federal All Candidates Forum.

Community feedback opposed to that format created synergy, Lochrie said, so this week she revised the rules and procedures.

“This is to ensure voters are given the most time possible for directing their on-the-spot questions to the candidates (that) Tuesday night,” she added. “The candidates are looking forward to responding to the revised voter-focussed format the district chamber has settled on.

An open mike session begins after moderator Catherine Adair kicks off the evening at 7 p.m. in the Cominco gym.

“Question period starts with Round 1, which is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis to the microphone,” Lochrie clarified. “And allowing one question for one candidate.”

Round 2 follows with the media panel presenting rapid-fire random questions.

The evening will close with one prepared question directed to all the candidates, during Round 3.

“In order for the public to have the most time to ask questions, we are only having one submitted question to all the candidates,” Lochrie noted.

Conservative Marshall Neufeld and Liberal Connie Denesiuk have confirmed they will be at the podium. NDP candidate Richard Cannings’ status remains tentative, explained Lochrie.

The audience could end up hearing from even more candidates. Independent Brian Gray has confirmed his attendance and Independent Doug Pederson said he’s planning to take part, although neither have officially registered with Elections Canada.

The deadline to register as a candidate for the federal election is Sept. 28.

That still leaves the door open for a Green Party representative in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay (SOWK) riding to join the race.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the evening is slated to wrap up at 9 p.m. For more information contact the chamber at 250.368.3144.