In an homage to ‘silly season’ shenanigans, we’re co-sponsoring an upcoming New Westminster all-candidates’ event that will feature a comic along with the candidates.
We’ve teamed up again with NEXT New West and New Westminster Environmental Partners to co-host Fun & Politics, an non-traditional, informal all-candidates’ mixer aimed at encouraging younger voters to become more engaged in city politics.
Last civic election only 24% of voters participated, and this event is our small way of trying to encourage people who have been disengaged with local politics to start getting to know the candidates and the issues in a fun and friendly social event.
I don’t know about you, but I find the format of a typical all-candidates “debate” pretty stale. I’ve been to a number of them now for municipal, provincial and federal elections, and they very rarely include any sort of real debate. In an effort to promote civility and fair time for each candidate, most all-candidates’s debates have little or no opportunity for candidates to question each other or even to respond to each other’s statements. As a result, the candidates usually play it safe, sticking to broad statements that most voters can agree with.
All-candidates debates are too often boring, inauthentic affairs that reveal little about the candidates or their platforms. This structure is not ideal, but sometimes it’s the only chance for voters to see the candidates in person and make their own assessments. Although I don’t find all-candidates debates very inspiring, I do think it’s important to have events like this that bring politicians face-to-face with voters. Our “Fun & Politics” meet & greet is not a replacement for all-candidates meetings, but we hope it will provide an alternative forum for those who avoid traditional “debates” out of fear of having to endure two hours of bafflegab only to leave knowing little more than they did before about who they should vote for.
Fun & Politics is an event that calls it like it is. It is not a debate, and it does not pretend to be. There will be no “knockout blows” and as at the previous version of this event that introduced voters to federal election candidates, the amount of speechifying will be kept to a minimum. Unlike a typical all-candidates’ meeting, the free event will be an unabashedly social occasion in which voters are encouraged to connect one-on-one with mayoral, council and school board candidates to ask their questions. Speeches will be kept to just 1-2 minutes per candidate before they will be turned loose to work the room and speak directly with voters. Held at the new Lafflines Theatre, the event will also feature a stand-up comic. Food, beer and wine will be available for sale.
Fun & Politics, co-hosted by NEXT New West, New Westminster Environmental Partners and Tenth to the Fraser, will be Wednesday, November 2 from 5:30-8pm at Lafflines Theatre. The comic will begin around 6pm, followed by candidate introductions and open networking. Because liquor will be served, the event is open to anyone aged 19 or older. Admission is free. Please RSVP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Facebook event.