The mayoral candidates meeting last Thursday night was an encouraging one. For the first time in twenty years of covering these things, I was worried that there could be disturbances, but the nastiness was confined, as usual, to the online watchers. The debate between Colleen Lynas and Nancy Peckford was, with one exception, good mannered, intelligent, and informative. Great credit goes to both, and to the Moderator, Brian McKee, who had prepared well and managed professionally.
Given the current climate, it was felt better to have a moderator with no ties to the Times or either campaign, and that was a real benefit on the night. The theatre was full, with almost every seat taken, and those watching online probably exceeded in number those who were in the meeting itself. As of a couple of days after the event, the video by Livestream Junkies on the Times Facebook page had reached almost 700 and engaged over a thousand viewers.
The Times is committed to fair and equal opportunities for all candidates, and in this issue we have published the first selection of articles by candidates for both Mayor and Councillor positions. To ensure fairness, we had Mary-Anne Leang, of the law firm of Jansen Law, to arrange the order in which the articles would appear and to vet the contents. It is a sad fact that this kind of approach has never been needed in the past. But that is the state of public discourse in North Grenville during this election cycle. Many thanks to Mary-Anne and Jansen Law for this service to the community.
To date, the Times has now hosted candidate meeting for both mayoral and councillor positions. We do so, and pay the full rental rate to the Municipality, as part of our mandate as a community newspaper. I mention the rental issue to clarify that we receive no special treatment. It is also important to point out that Livestream Junkies, who put a great deal of time, expertise, and assets into livestreaming both meetings, did so free of charge, also as a public service. We at the Times, and, I am sure, all the candidates, are grateful to Francois and his team for their generosity and skill.