Last night the citizens of Abbotsford filled the auditorium at city hall to engage in the first mayoral debate for the November l5/14 municipal election. (See photo)
The invitation to both candidates was sent out at least 10 days ago, the event was advertised in local media, and we had a wonderful evening.

But it was a rather odd debate setting, due to the 24-hour earlier announcement from Bruce Banman that he thought the Indo-Canadian Diwali celebrations were suddenly more important for his future outlook than being present at this debate. It’s kind of hard to have a debate with only one person on stage, but Henry Braun did a masterful job of answering the questions from the panel, and from the audience.

Because of the derision that exploded on Facebook, Mr. Banman hastily conceded he would favour us with his presence for one hour, between his Diwali appearances. His new campaign manager ran onto the stage gesticulating wildly to yard his master off the stage, and back to Diwali, where Mr. Banman thinks his adoring voters dwell.

Excerpt from the email sent to council candidates on Oct. 14/14 Good Afternoon Council Candidates,

A group of non-profit organizations is hosting an All Candidates Meeting on Tuesday, October 21st @ 7:00 PM at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.
Please accept this as your formal invitation to attend. Please arrive early so everyone can be seated, given final instructions and that the event can begin on time.

The groups involved in organizing this event are:
From the Arts & Culture sector – MSA Museum, The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford Arts Council
The Environment sector – Fraser Valley Conservancy
The Social Services Sector – United Way of the Fraser Valley, Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Community Services
Representing various sectors – Abbotsford Community Foundation

As you can tell by the groups represented the main topics for discussion are: Arts & Culture, the environment and social services. All the organizing groups are spreading the word about the event via each of their own social media networks, and I encourage you to do the same.

The meeting will be streamed live through the City’s website and will be recorded for future reference. Justin Goodrich will moderate and do his best to keep everyone on track. We anticipate this to be a 2-hour event, so please plan accordingly. The organizing groups have questions prepared to ensure a balanced discussion on each topic area. Questions will also be accepted from the floor. Obviously time is of the essence with so many candidates, so try to be concise and brief when addressing questions.

Please spread the word among your colleagues and supporters and encourage strong attendance.

The organizing committee is holding a planning meeting tomorrow and I will update you of any information as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at your convenience.