The centrepiece event of Election 2014

Wednesday's all-candidates forum at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook was several cuts above previous election forums.

As previously reported in the Townsman, Wednesday’s all-candidates forum at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook was several cuts above previous election forums.

Previously, we were lucky to get crowds pushing 300. Wednesday night saw more than 600 voters take in proceedings. One can hope this is a barometer of coming voter turn-out, and our previous voter turnout — a democracy-killing low of 32 per cent — was just an anomaly, a bad dream in the troubled sleep of those who care about such things (who up until now, aren’t very many).

After all, look at the turnout in the recent election in the Fordopoulos of Toronto — a healthy 60 per cent (relatively healthy … still, more than double their previous election turnout). Granted, we don’t have the galvanizing figures of the Fords, but in Cranbrook we have a remarkable record number of characters, representing a broad range of backgrounds, philosophies, ages and intentions  — though as previously reported, all candidates state “economic development and infrastructure” as key priorities. But these terms, of course, are de rigueur.

Weeks and months ago, I was predicting a rather sedate election, not as sedate as 2005, but approaching that, while in Kimberley it was going to be a knock-down, drag-out brawl. I see now that the Cranbrook election will be a bubbling cauldron (and a knock-down, drag-out brawl in Kimberley).

But back to Wednesday night’s forum, which I believe is set to become the centrepiece event of our future municipal election campaigns. Great political theatre and entertainment.

Kudos to JCI Kootenays and Moderator David Walls. The format was bang on, the lighting was good, there were excellent opportunities for every candidate to show their stuff. The choice of questions creating depth, and the selection of questions from the audience, both in the mayoral and councillor segments of the evening, painted a broad picture of the issues that concern us. Having no live questions from the audience is a good modification — helps keep the time down.

Of course, the number of candidates meant the forum was less an in-depth discussion of policy details than a beauty contest — and I use that term in its broadest, most humanistic sense, in that the candidates put themselves on display presenting their personalities, their plans, their achievements and the cut of their jib, all in a few minutes. It was very successful in that regard, and I know many of us came away with a greater awareness of how we’re going to vote.

It almost causes me to look forward to the next election, and the candidates forum of 2018 (just kidding folks).

Up next, the mayoral candidates forum hosted by the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, an 11:15 a.m. luncheon at the Heritage Inn Nov. 4.  Then the Chamber-hosted Council candidates forum, Nov. 5, 6 p.m. at the Heritage Inn. Up in Kimberley, they also have two forums to look forward to — Nov. 3 for Council candidates and Nov. 4 for mayoral candidates. Both are at McKim School.

Dear readers, inform yourselves, get out and vote. We can’t let Toronto get the better of us, eh?

For the Record: Dress for The Cause, Wesly Graham, Election Letters


Team Taylor Adams is still holding down first place in the Dress For A Cause Challenge — a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. However, even though the deadline passed for collections, cheques and cash pledges are still coming in. Therefore, the Townsman calling Team Taylor Adams the nation-wide victors was premature. Final results will be made available by the end of November, and the Townsman will report on them then. By the way, donations by credit card can still be made to Dress For A Cause.  The winning organization will receive $5,000 for their community’s local cancer treatment centre. See more at, and


In Thursday’s story “600 turn out to see Cranbrook candidates in action,” the summation remarks of Cranbrook Council candidate Wesly Graham were missed, in the long list of candidates’ closing remarks. The reporter pleads fatigue and too much puzzling over the pages and pages of his notes. And the Townsman apologizes to Candidate Graham for the omission. The online version of the story has since been updated.

Editor’s Note to Townsman/Bulletin Readers:

Election season is well underway, and as ever our opinion/editorial pages are open to public contributions. These include letters to the editor in support or non-support of any particular candidate. It is our policy to run these letters, but if there is a series of letters calling for support (or non-support) for a particular candidate that essentially is repeating the same message, then they will not all be published, and one or two will be chosen as representative of the whole.