Friday, April 14, 2017

Election candidates to be asked to weigh in on local issues through City Council question process

Prince Rupert City Council hasn't quite settled on the approach as of yet, but before too long they will be making contact with the three declared candidates in the provincial election and seek out their answers to a range of Prince Rupert specific questions.

On Tuesday, Council members reviewed some of the types of questions that they might wish to have candidates address and what themes they may wish to explore.

Though by the meeting's end Council had not quite hashed out whether they will be seeking replies by way of a questionnaire, or if Council will issue a formal invitation to appear at an upcoming Council session.

Mayor Brain introduced the potential civics project in the final moments of the Tuesday council session.

"We have a provincial election coming up and some folks asked what Council's views are and things, and I don't necessarily want to be involved with the election, but one of the thoughts that came up was perhaps maybe us as a Council could write a list of questions to the candidates that are running, we can ask them some questions about  concerns such as caps and things like that"

The idea of having the candidates come on down to the council hall was an concept we floated on the blog back in March, that as part of our notes on the city's concerns at the time over provincial caps on taxation and the hardship that mechanism was providing for the city.

As we noted last month, the provincial election period might offer up a chance for the City to get the candidates on the record when it comes to Provincial issues and  how those decisions impact on the City of Prince Rupert.

Councillor Cunningham seemed the most inclined towards having the candidates stop in for a chat at an upcoming Committee of the Whole session, or to go the route of the questionnaire proposal.

Participating by phone, Councillor Kinney observed that he wasn't that interested in having the candidates appear in a council session, seeming to prefer the written response model.

Councillor Thorkelson also thought the idea of seeking comment from the candidates was a good one to follow up on, offering up a few ideas of her own as to what kind of questions the Council may wish to pursue, with a particular focus on questions related to industrial development.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson with a list
of potential questions for a 
City Council questionnaire 
for provincial election candidates
on the North Coast
"I think that we should ask if they are going to consult with the municipalities and regional districts, where these large projects that are going to be beneficial to the provincial government and to the local municipalities are going to be located ... so we don't end up tearing the whole community apart over things as Flora Banks.  Like nobody in their right mind would have said  OK lets build an LNG plant right on top of Flora Banks, if anyone had come and asked us ahead of time, so I think we should be asking that as well, and I'm sure there's other questions"

The main takeaway from Tuesday's council session seems to be that Council is tilting more towards the written questionnaire concept, as opposed to any face to face meeting with the candidates.

Should they go with the questionnaire concept, Mayor Brain noted that the City would publish the replies online and through the range of social media streams that are available, a location of social engagement that Mayor observed is a place that people exist these days.

A more expanded look at the prospect of a candidate questionnaire and Council's thoughts on the theme is available on our Council Timeline Feature.

The discussion on how best to approach the theme is available for review on the city's video archive starting at the thirty one minute mark.

For more items related to City Council Discussions see our archive page here.

A snapshot of some of the North Coast election issues can be reviewed on our North Coast Votes archive page.

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