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Barrie group still waiting for candidates’ answers

In Barrie
Oct 19th, 2010

A community activist group’s questionnaire is stirring up some response from election candidates.
But the numbers aren’t where group leader Lisa Gleva wanted them.
“I really wish everybody running took this fantastic opportunity to respond,” said Gleva, of Barrie Citizens Connecting (BCC), a relatively new group formed to give Barrie residents a voice and make it heard by city council.

“It’s different than the other polls out there, and it gives the public a chance to get a feel for the candidates and where they stand.”
Barrie’s municipal election is Oct. 25.
Candidates had more than a month to respond to the questionnaire.
It asked candidates questions such as where they live, vote, what their vision for their ward is, how to improve how council operates and how to increase citizen participation in city hall’s decision-making.
As of Monday, 20 of the 43 candidates for mayor and city council responded to the questionnaire. Although some candidates made the effort, having less than half respond isn’t sitting well with Gleva.
“The way they respond, or them responding at all, is just as important as what they say,” she said.
“I start asking myself why some of them wouldn’t respond. Maybe they’re afraid of how their answers will look against other candidates, or maybe they don’t trust their answers will be displayed fairly.
“Maybe they don’t have a great campaign team to help them in getting their responses out,” she added.
“What I’m afraid of is, with those who didn’t respond, is this a sign of what we can expect from them on council if elected?”
Gleva said she’s more annoyed with mayoral candidates refusing to respond, versus councillor hopefuls.
“I’m a little bit more disappointed with those running for mayor not responding,” she said. “For the first-time councillors, this might have been too much for them to take time for. But those running for mayor should have taken this opportunity. They should be doing all they can to reach out to voters.”
For those candidates who did respond, Gleva and her group offer a thumbs up.
“I understand the six-week campaign is absolute craziness for them,” she said. “But they still took this seriously and took every opportunity presented to them to get their message across.”
Voter turnout during the past two elections has sat at about 30% out of the city’s eligible voters.
Gleva hopes the questionnaire’s generated response will help boost that percentage this time.
“The interest in these (responses) seems to be there from the public. People have commented to me on them and people seem engaged by this,” she said. “I’d still be happy if we could elevate voter turnout to 50% this year.”


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