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Citizens’ groups grill candidates

In Barrie
Oct 21st, 2010

By Janis Ramsay Barrie Advance Oct 20, 2010
BARRIE – Candidates have been on the firing line recently, as citizen’s groups have grilled them on local issues.
Lisa Gleva, a member of Barrie Citizens Connecting, said they e-mailed questions to get voters interested in the election.
“A group of us sat down early in the year to talk about the election.  We realized we didn’t have a great sense of what current members of council had stood for in the last election, so we weren’t able to figure out if they had measured up to their promises,” said Gleva.
The unedited responses can be found here.
She hopes the responses would help voters get to know the candidates, and also act as a record to judge how effective council members become over this term on council.
In the BCC survey, only half of the candidates responded. “On one hand, it’s a little disappointing. We had hoped that candidates would recognize the value in this exercise.
“Unfortunately, the non-respondents have taken a risk –citizens will speculate about the reason they didn’t respond, which could work against them.”
Barrie Citizens Connecting was created earlier this year after residents in the Allandale area were frustrated with council’s communication and leadership. The group is hoping to have a more active role as the new council takes over Dec. 6.Another group, Action Watch Affecting Residents Everywhere (AWARE) Simcoe has also interviewed candidates in each Simcoe County municipality.
The results, whether a written response or a video tape, are posted on the group’s website here.
In Oro-Medonte, only six of the 13 candidates responded, said Susan Woods.
“I think it’s likely people are leery of our group, thinking we were trying to trap them,” said Woods. “Unfortunately, some look on us as a pressure group, but our central purpose was to get more people engaged.”
AWARE sprang from the Site 41 landfill debate in Tiny Township, where county residents stuck together to get a reversal on the dump’s approval.
Most polling stations are open for advanced voting now. Election day is Monday, Oct. 25.


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