From left, standing: Charles Jeanes, Rob Richichi, Robbie Kalabis, Travis Hauck, Robin Cherbo Michelle Hillaby, Bob Adams, Keith Page, Jesse Woodward, Joe Reiner, Cal Renwick, Stephanie Wiggins. Front, from left: Margret Stacey, Brittny Anderson, Laureen Barker, Janice Morrison, Brian Shields, Rik Logtenberg, John Dooley, Deb Kozak. Missing: Leslie Payne who participated in the event and Bernie Brown who participated in the first half. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Candi-dating: ‘A beehive of conversation’ in Nelson

One-on-one event connects candidates with voters

About 100 people went on first dates Thursday evening at the Nelson Library.

In fact, they dated several people, all of them political candidates in the upcoming municipal election.

Candi-dating, an event organized by Nelson at its Best (formerly known as SPAN) had an atmosphere of concentrated engagement, with a friendly tension created by the sheer number of candidates (22) and the hair-trigger time limits imposed by the organizers.

“People were so remarkably curious and non-confrontational,” said moderator Jocelyn Carver. “It had a real genuineness to it.”

During the first section of the evening, people went on three-minute “dates” with the 22 candidates located at numbered stations around both floors of the library. After three minutes a bell went off — the signal to move on to the next candidate they’d signed up for.

“It was very illuminating,” said Toumbi Heynen, who dated several candidates, “and great to meet the candidates in such an intimate kind of situation, to get a feel for their character and their views. It is an absurdly short period of time which makes it a little more interesting — they were a bit more jazzed because they were obviously put on the spot.”

Sometimes daters ignored the bell and had to be encouraged to move on. Three minutes isn’t long for an in-depth political conversation. Carver said she noticed that many people had prepared very carefully thought-out questions. “They were trying hard to get to the heart of things,” she said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed these dates with the candidates,” said Janet Henderson. “I talked with six that I had appointments with and others I just went and listened. It was very personable.”

Some voters found that their preconceptions of certain candidates were overturned by the three-minute conversations.

“I have been surprisingly won over by a few of the candidates,” said Jeremy Kelly.

People who had not signed up for specific candidates were allowed to eavesdrop on others’ discussions but not take part in them.

“It is really fun and you can run around and eavesdrop and you can ask questions you might not ask in a forum,” said John Alton. “You also talk to other people. It is really social and a beehive of conversation.”

In the second half of the evening all candidates sat facing the crowd. Nelson at its Best had written six questions — about poverty, housing, climate change, youth engagement, jobs — and Carver chose candidates in a random order and asked them to answer, in two minutes, one of the six questions she also chose at random.

So each candidate got one chance to speak to the crowd, but they didn’t know when they would be called on or which question they would have to answer.

Carver said the intense engagement of both candidates and audience throughout the evening was “baked into the pie” by the uncertainty and the short time limits.

“The structure promoted a certain excitement about engaging and not wasting time,” she said.

The next election forum is for mayoral candidates only, hosted by broadcaster Glenn Hicks at the Prestige on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

On Oct. 15 there is a forum on wildfires and climate change at the Nelson United Church, and on Oct. 16 an all candidates forum at the Central School gym at 7 p.m.

Voting day is Oct. 20.

Related:

• PART 1: Nelson council candidate profiles

• Part 2: Nelson council candidate profiles

 

Councillor Michael Dailly (front, centre) who is not running in this election, thinks it’s hilarious to watch others being put on the spot for a change. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Just Posted

Rate of School District 8 aboriginal education graduates increasing

Superintendent says more students are self-identifying as Indigenous

West Kootenay traffic officers catch 21 impaired drivers Saturday

Checks in Nelson, Castlegar and Trail were set up as part of a national enforcement campaign

Temporary repairs lift pilot warning on Nelson airport

The City of Nelson has repaired some of the dips in the runway surface

Nelson Women’s Centre elects new board at tense annual general meeting

The three-hour meeting was dictated by a recent settlement

Wilson promoted to Junior A as Leafs split road games

Nelson won in Golden but fell to Columbia Valley

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Most Read