Since the debate about the federal Election debates has begun , we have been able to read in the Townsman and other media sources statements such as ……
Revelstoke Times, Nelson Star,
In a news release, the Conservative Party said they would only take part in debates organized by local Chambers of Commerce and only between September 21st and October 2nd. Voting is a solemn obligation. The conduct of formal debates should reflect that and be encouraged by organizations that are non-partisan.
Yet, Wilks said lack of Chamber involvement wouldn’t preclude him from taking part in a Revelstoke debate.
Townsman, Aug. 6th Trevor Crawley
David Wilks has proposed a new debate format after rejecting a format that was proposed by other political party candidates. Wilk’s proposal would have ‘non partisan’ Chambers collect concerns and questions directly from citizens before debates.
Daily Townsman, Aug. 6th Trevor Crawley
Mr Wilks also went on to say all questions must be vetted first.
Townsman Aug. 12 Trevor Crawley
“First and foremost this is a Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Forum and somewhat of a debate so we are focusing on things that are important to the business community”, said David Hull
Since the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce would not accommodate the leader of the provincial NDP party to an audience in Cranbrook in 2012, the Cranbrook Chamber has taken steps to try to clarify that they are a non-partisan organization.
Business to Business, Sept. 11 2014
“It is important to remind everyone that the Chamber of Commerce is an apolitical organization.” David Butler, Business to Business Sept 11, 2014.
However, some questions need to be considered in light of all these statements.
Chambers of Commerce, the only organizations considered non-partisan. Really? College of the Rockies, Rotary, Kinsmen; Lions; Cranbrook Community Theatre – should all these organizations be considered partisan?
According to Mr. Hull, the debate is really a forum and maybe somewhat of a debate. Either it is a debate or it is not a debate. There are several formats for formal debates and if it is a forum, will it not be more of a soap box for party platform with not much room for reasoned discussion, and rebuttal?
By limiting questions to focus only on those that are important to the business community, will not the ‘forum’ most certainly be partisan to business and therefore exclusive? There is much more at stake for our future in this election.
It would appear from information to date that Cranbrook will be provided with a single, most definitely partisan forum, totally at the behest of the Conservative Party but you can debate that.