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GSTA hosting ward councillor debates

The Greater Sudbury Taxpayers’ Association will be hosting moderated debates for each of the City’s 12 wards over the next five weeks during the municipal election campaign.
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The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is hosting an all candidates debate for next month's byelection and NorthernLife.ca will bring it to you live.

The Greater Sudbury Taxpayers’ Association will be hosting moderated debates for each of the City’s 12 wards over the next five weeks during the municipal election campaign.

The deadline to enter the race was last Friday and GSTA President Michael Rocha says there appears to be a record number of candidates seeking office.

“Over the past few years the GSTA has focused on educating local residents about the municipal government process and the importance and influence of city councillors,” says Rocha. “We’ve held this City Council and senior city management to account. So, it is encouraging to see so many people now engaged in the process. That is what makes a healthy democracy - not one and two person races or acclamations like we’ve seen in the past. We believe the next step is to ensure these ward races get the attention they deserve."

In the past, municipal debates and media attention have primarily focused on the mayoral race. However, Rocha points out that local taxpayers have come to realize over the past four years that the mayor has limited power and, even when elected by the entire community with a specific agenda, it’s hard to move forward without a cooperative city council.

So, it simply makes sense for someone to host debates for the ward candidates.

He says the GSTA board was unanimous in the decision to host debates for each ward — and to stay out of the mayoral race altogether. As well, the GSTA will not be endorsing any candidates during the municipal election.

“We want voters to make up their own minds when they go to the polls October 27th - but we hope they make informed decisions,” says Rocha. “With that in mind, there are already several debates set up for the Mayoral candidates so those bases are covered. We are going to focus on councillor candidates. We have spent a great deal of time planning the logistics of co-ordinating these ward debates, which has been no easy task.

“But, it will be well worth it. The GSTA is committed to ensuring we get the best possible City Council and the way to get there is to help inform local voters on the issues and encourage them to get out and vote.”

The GSTA’s debate format has been set up to allow for fairness, preparation and to allow local taxpayers to get involved. All ward candidates will be sent a list of possible questions that will be asked by the moderator during the debate. The audience will also be allowed to submit questions to ask candidates during the debates. Those questions will be moderated to ensure they are fair and relevant.

As well, the debates will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube for people who are unable to attend the live debate.

The first debate will be for Ward 1 and will be held at the Caruso Club on Monday, September 22nd. The final debate will be on Oct. 22 at the Colonial Inn in Coniston for Ward 9 candidates. Visit http://www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2014/09/12-debates-list.aspx
 

The Greater Sudbury Taxpayers’ Association will be hosting moderated debates for each of the City’s 12 wards over the next five weeks during the municipal election campaign.

The deadline to enter the race was last Friday and GSTA President Michael Rocha says there appears to be a record number of candidates seeking office.

“Over the past few years the GSTA has focused on educating local residents about the municipal government process and the importance and influence of city councillors,” says Rocha. “We’ve held this City Council and senior city management to account. So, it is encouraging to see so many people now engaged in the process. That is what makes a healthy democracy - not one and two person races or acclamations like we’ve seen in the past. We believe the next step is to ensure these ward races get the attention they deserve."

In the past, municipal debates and media attention have primarily focused on the mayoral race. However, Rocha points out that local taxpayers have come to realize over the past four years that the mayor has limited power and, even when elected by the entire community with a specific agenda, it’s hard to move forward without a cooperative city council.

So, it simply makes sense for someone to host debates for the ward candidates.

He says the GSTA board was unanimous in the decision to host debates for each ward — and to stay out of the mayoral race altogether. As well, the GSTA will not be endorsing any candidates during the municipal election.

“We want voters to make up their own minds when they go to the polls October 27th - but we hope they make informed decisions,” says Rocha. “With that in mind, there are already several debates set up for the Mayoral candidates so those bases are covered. We are going to focus on councillor candidates. We have spent a great deal of time planning the logistics of co-ordinating these ward debates, which has been no easy task.

“But, it will be well worth it. The GSTA is committed to ensuring we get the best possible City Council and the way to get there is to help inform local voters on the issues and encourage them to get out and vote.”

The GSTA’s debate format has been set up to allow for fairness, preparation and to allow local taxpayers to get involved. All ward candidates will be sent a list of possible questions that will be asked by the moderator during the debate. The audience will also be allowed to submit questions to ask candidates during the debates. Those questions will be moderated to ensure they are fair and relevant.

As well, the debates will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube for people who are unable to attend the live debate.

The first debate will be for Ward 1 and will be held at the Caruso Club on Monday, Sept. 22. The final debate will be on Oct. 22 at the Colonial Inn in Coniston for Ward 9 candidates. Visit www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2014/09/12-debates-list.aspx for a full list of debates.




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