And the winners are… Rob Hamilton and Jeff Lehman
UPDATED with link to video
By Kate Harries AWARE Simcoe October 20 2010
More than 400 Barrie residents heard two of their candidates for mayor – Rob Hamilton and Jeff Lehman – debate environmental and neighbourhood issues in a thoughtful and respectful manner yesterday.
The rest of the Barrie mayoral candidates had voted themselves off the island.
Five boycotted the event and one – Harry Ahmed – bailed out after a brief, abusive tirade.
There is something curious about politicians who refuse to make themselves accountable at election time because they don’t like the group that’s asking the questions or because – in this case – they didn’t like the format.
The plan, to allow eight candidates to make presentations and then have the audience vote on which four they wanted to hear more from, allowing them to participate in the debate, was problematic.
Faced with vigorous opposition from candidates (four of whom would have had to leave the platform and sit in the audience), the organizers backed down and agreed to keep the debate open to all – too late to keep all candidates involved.
The absentees were the losers
Hamilton and Lehman tackled a variety of issues that haven’t been discussed at other all-candidates’ meetings. The debate was videotaped by a member of Council of Canadians. Link here to view a talk earlier in the evening by Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller to a Barrie Chamber of Commerce hosted reception, and the debate, posted in five parts.
The two-hour event was moderated by Miller and sponsored by Living Green Barrie, AWARE Barrie, Barrie Citizens Connecting, the Downtown Barrie Neighbourhood Associatiion, the Allandale Neighbourhood Association and Council of Canadians, Simcoe Region chapter.