Candidates speculate about mayoral forums

Tyler Clarke
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Keen on calling their opponents to task, mayoral candidates Dean Link and Greg Dionne want a mayoral debate. 

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Keen on calling their opponents to task, mayoral candidates Dean Link and Greg Dionne want a mayoral debate.

“I like to debate,” Dionne said. “I like firing back and forth and see where we stand on the issues, but when you’ve got a week to answer the questions it’s pretty blah to me.”

The weeklong preparation Dionne references is related to the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce-hosted Mayoral Candidate Forum on Oct. 17.

This forum is an important means of getting campaign messages out, Dionne said, albeit not his preferred means of discourse with Link and incumbent Jim Scarrow.

“I would always like to see a different format. When you get pre-questions, you can really pump your answers,” he said.

For Link, the best means of letting the public know the calibre of the candidates is a debate.

“I think that good politicians should be able to think on his feet and be well enough aware of the issues in this city so they can answer them right off the cuff,” he said.

“I will definitely participate, I just don’t agree with the format.”

The format is the same as during past elections, and seems to serve its purpose well, Scarrow said — not that he would disapprove of a debate.

“It requires more thought and there’s the opportunity for presentation of the candidates’ platforms,” he said of the upcoming forum.

“I just think it’s a better format to get the personalities out of the way and to deal with what people are interested in, and that’s what you’ve done and what you’re prepared to do.”

Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Merle Lacert said that each candidate will be provided 30 questions prior to the forum, with six identified as ones all candidates will be asked.

Each candidate will be asked an additional four questions, unique to each candidate, pulled from a hat of the 24 remaining questions, with audience members encouraged to throw additional questions into the hat that the candidates weren’t provided beforehand.

Although Link speculates that some people may have others professionally write their responses to the questions being posed, he’ll have no part of it.

It has recognition in the community that that’s the important (mayoral presentation). Mayor Jim Scarrow, on the Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Forum

“You’re not going to get any professionals writing anything for me — that’s just the way I am,” he said. “If I give a wrong answer, well then, fine.”

As for the six questions all candidates will be asked, Dionne said that the third person asked for their take on certain issues, such as finances, will have a hard time thinking of something new to say.

“If you want to talk about finances, they’re going to say ‘You want accountability, you want to be open, you want to be upfront, you want to have the best price for the dollar,’ you know? What can you say?” Dionne asked.

The Prince Albert Mayoral Candidate Forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library.

“It’s open to everyone and anyone,” Lacert said. “We hope to have a great turnout.

“We encourage everyone to engage in this election … This may be your first chance to see (the mayoral candidates).”

“It’s still important,” Dionne said. “Any opportunity to voice your opinion and let the public know what you think is positive.”

“It has recognition in the community that that’s the important (mayoral presentation),” Scarrow said.

Seating is limited to whoever shows up first, so Lacert cautions people to arrive early if they want to be granted a spot.

Bryan Rindal from BTR Financial Planning will be moderating the forum.

A mayoral forum format similar to the Chamber of Commerce’s will be employed by radio station 900 CKBI on Oct. 18, for a one-hour live debate beginning at 2 p.m.

The Indian Metis Friendship Centre of Prince Albert is hosting an all candidates forum on Oct. 18, beginning at 7 p.m. Moderated by Daily Herald editor Perry Bergson, the event will be open to the public and feature all mayoral and council candidates. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, Indian Metis Friendship Centre Daily Herald

Geographic location: Chamber of Commerce

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