During the second week of September, the Rat Creek Press will be hosting a series of virtual All Candidates Meetings for Ward Métis, Ward O-day’min, and the mayoral candidates. These meetings will give Edmontonians and ward residents the chance to hear and compare the candidates vying for their votes.
The mayoral candidate meeting is first on Sept. 13, Ward O-day’min on Sept. 15, and Ward Métis on Sept. 16. All meetings will run from 7-9 p.m. on Zoom and will be live-streamed on Facebook.
Of the mayoral candidates, Brian (Breezy) Gregg, Kim Krushell, Amarjeet Sohi, Diana Steele, and Cheryll Watson have confirmed their attendance. Michael Oshry, Abdul Malik Chukwudi, Rick Comrie, and Augustine Marah have not yet responded. Mike Nickel will update organizers in August.
Confirmed candidates from Ward O-day’min include Gabrielle Battiste, Adrian Bruff, and Anne Stevenson. The organizing committee is awaiting responses from Gino Akbari, Tony Caterina, Naima Haile, Bill Knight, and Joshua Wolchansky.
In Ward Métis, Liz John-West, Cori Longo, Caroline Matthews, Salar Melli, Ashley Salvador, and Steven Townsend have confirmed their attendance. James Kosowan has yet to confirm.
Moderating the debates will be Matthew Kleywegt, who ran in Ward 7 in the 2017 elections. Kleywegt is a teacher who is interested in local politics. He says, “I like to be a part of the process of some of the most meaningful democratic processes in people’s lives.”
Organizing the event on behalf of the Rat Creek Press is a member of their board of directors, Mike Enders. While studying criminology years ago, Enders focused heavily on political science classes. He says, “This created a love for municipal or local politics that allow those elected or campaigning to create personal connections with voters who live in their constituencies.”
At the time of writing, the Rat Creek Press is the only media organization hosting an all candidates mayoral debate. CTV, Global News, City TV Edmonton, CBC Edmonton, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, and APTN have all expressed an interest in covering the debate.
Each candidate has a few minutes to give an opening statement and present their platform. Then, each candidate will be given several pre-screened questions. The final portion of the debate will take questions from the public. With so many candidates, Kleywegt plans to run a “fair but firm” event. He says, “I will be very clear about what candidates can expect and be very clear about the agenda and the rules of the debate.”
The Rat Creek Press chose to do a virtual event because at this point, it is not clear if there will be gathering restrictions in place due to the pandemic. However, Bellevue and Highlands community leagues, in conjunction with Concordia University of Edmonton, will be running an in-person debate for Ward Métis candidates.
Organizers are seeking questions from the community. Email your questions to [email protected] using the subject line: Ward (name) Candidate Questions. Please leave your community name and your first and last name in case any follow up either from the organizers or from media is required.
If you would like to participate in organizing the event, contact Mike Enders at the above email.