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Back Politics Politics Local Election Coverage Delta All Candidate Debate Wrap up

Delta All Candidate Debate Wrap up

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Delta All Candidates Meeting

By Elvis Glazier - Last night people congregated at the Delta Town and Country to watch the debate between the candidates running in the upcoming by-election. Of the eight potential ballot choices only six candidates lined the table as Amy Ghuman Sara and Ray Robinson chose not to attend the televised event. The less than packed room included Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and councilors King, Hamilton, and Campbell. The debate started out slowly with each of the candidates 1 minute opening statements. From left to right they took turns filling 60 seconds up with their introductions. It was pretty easy to determine right from the outset that this was not going to be the all out rough and tumble brawl that many people hope for. This was later reaffirmed by another member of the audience, "The candidates really have nothing to win here but (with a misstep) they can lose something."

Ten questions in total were asked on a wide variety of questions ranging from the obvious Southland's situation to what to do with John Oliver park in the aftermath of the White Caps pulling out. For the most part the candidates stuck to their platform policies with written scripts and the occasional rehearsed tag-line. That of course is with the exception of newcomer Peter Harms who seemed to be flying by the seat of his pants while wearing his signature Hawaiian shirt.

Without any real 'break through' moments I scored the debate question by question on content and delivery. This is how I scored it, feel free to comment.

Question 1 - The Southlands
Sylvia Bishop 0.5
Kathleen Higgins 0.5

Question 2 - Scott Road Revitalization
Kathleen Higgins 0.5
Sandeep Pandher 0.5
(* video replay moment when Sandeep slams the current councillors for neglecting this issue)

Question 3 - John Oliver Park
Sylvia Bishop 1.0 - This was a break out answer. Her year round multi use facility with a focus on cricket and field hockey was outstanding.
(* Video replay - Liked Ian Paton's comment about the Rugby club tearing down the old barn)

Question 4 - Safety in North Delta
Kathleen Higgins 0.5 - A walking community is a safe community.
Sylvia Bishop 0.5 - The Delta Police Force is the envy of the province.

Question 5 - Relationships with Surrounding Municipalities
Ian Paton 1.0 - There is nothing we can learn from Richmond or Surrey
(* Video replay - "I'll throw myself in front of the bulldozers" Talking about the development plans for the Tsawwassen First Nations Land. I was waiting for someone else to say, "I'll throw him in front of the bulldozers too!")

Question 6 - Greener Community
Sandeep Pandher 0.5
Kathleen Higgins 0.5

Question 7 - Affordable Housing in South Delta
Kathleen Higgins 0.5 - Large strata homes
Sandeep Pandher 0.5
(* video replay - Sandeep had a great line. "Maybe we don't want affordable housing."

Question 8 - Terminal 2 at Delta Port
Sylvia Bishop 1.0

Question 9 - Philosophy on developing farmland
Ian Paton 0.5
Sylvia Bishop 0.5
(Kathleen almost made a good comment on the swapping of ALR land for northern pastures)

Question 10 - Changes to Development Plans
Sylvia Bishop 0.5 - Hard line on anything but minor changes.
Sandeep Pandher 0.5 - Need better transparency.
(* video replay - Sandeep's slam against the Mayor when talking about policy we need a better choice tha, "If the Mayor wants it, Let's do it!")

The final scores:

1st Place - Sylvia Bishop (4.0 points)
2nd Place - Kathleen Higgins (2½ points)
3rd Place - Sandeep Pandher (2.0 points)
4th Place - Ian Paton (1½ ponts)
5th Place - Maria DeVries (0 points but gets the edge for content)
6th Place - Peter Harms

Does any of this matter? Probably not. It was interesting to see these candidates in action. It is likely we will be hearing these names for the next year or two. The only ranking that matters in this race takes place on September 18th.

The closing arguments were better than the opening with the butterflies of these relative newcomers to the political venue long gone. Bishop talked about her values, DeVries about Independance, Higgins sold herself as an inovative environmentalist, Pandher the pragmatic planner, Paton the farmer with experience. As each candidate took their last moments to get their respective messages out I couldn't help but think, "Does that shirt come with batteries Peter?"

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