Broadcaster Glenn Hicks (right) will moderate the all candidates meeting organized by Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson (left).

Two federal all-candidates meetings coming up

MP David Wilks will attend the meeting on Sept 24, but not on Sept 16.

The Nelson Chamber of Commerce will hold an all-candidates meeting on Sept. 24, with all five federal election candidates in attendance.

Juice FM newscaster Glenn Hicks will moderate the evening using a format similar to last fall’s Nelson municipal mayoral candidates meeting. The chamber’s Tom Thomson says Hicks is the man for the job.

“He has integrity, credibility, and no political biases,” Thomson says. “We believe his style is very, very effective.”

Hicks, a radio and TV journalist in South Africa and London before moving to Nelson, says the meeting will be reminiscent of a TV show.

“The candidates have lapel mics, they have seats on the stage, the lights in the audience are darkened, and for the audience it’s like watching a TV interview without the cameras,” he says.

The chamber’s Tom Thomson says there will be no questions from the audience, but the public is welcome to send him questions in advance, and he has asked various groups around town, including the Nelson Star, to do the same. And he will rely on Hicks’ knowledge of the community.

Thomson says meetings with open questions from the audience move very slowly, because “there is politicking in the questions, and it is hard for the moderator to move it forward.”

Hicks agrees. “Often the questions are the same as previous ones, and they are just another way of getting a political statement out there.”

Hicks says his main goals will be to cover as many issues as possible and make it engaging.

The meeting will take place at the Prestige  from 7 until 8:30 p.m. The doors open at 6:15 to allow the candidates an opportunity to chat with the public. A similar opportunity for informal discussion between candidates and public will happen between 8:30 and 9:15 p.m.

Peace and security forum

On Wednesday, Sept. 16,  the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace will hold an all-candidates meeting at the Nelson United Church on peace and security.

Incumbent Conservative MP David Wilks will not be there, but all four other candidates have confirmed their attendance.

“David Wilks formally declined,” said the Mir Centre’s Randy Janzen, “and did not give a reason. We responded, telling him that there is a chair for him if he changes his mind or wants to send a delegate.”

Wilks has indicated that he will be attending many or most forums throughout the riding, but won’t be able to make the one in Nelson due to a scheduling conflict.

Nelson United Church minister David Boyd will moderate the session.

The format will see each candidate make a short opening comment, then Janzen will make a short statement about peace and security issues, followed by a half hour of questions for the candidates from Boyd.

After that, the climate lobby’s Laura Sacks will make a short statement about climate change, then Boyd will ask a half hour of questions about that subject.

Then the audience will be asked to break into groups of four to form questions, one per group, that will go deeper into the issues. The idea is that after the previous hour, there may be still some questions unanswered. Then each group will ask its question of the candidates.

“The goal is not just to hear candidates’ views but also to have public dialogue,” Sacks says. “The idea is that the people in the audience will be engaged and thinking about the issues.”

The Sept. 16 meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the United Church, 602 Silica St., and will occur again at the Sandman Inn in Castlegar on the following night, also at 7. Admission is by donation to cover expenses.

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