With the Oct. 19 election finish line in sight, political talk in Richmond is going to gather pace in the coming weeks with a series of all-candidates meetings taking place.
Here’s a rundown of what’s on tap.
Richmond Chamber of Commerce all-candidates’ debate
When: Wednesday Sept. 30. Meet and greet reception 5:30 - 6:45 p.m., debate 7 - 9 p.m.
Where: Richmond Country Club
(9100 Steveston Hwy.)
Kicking things off on Sept. 30 will be the Richmond Chamber of Commerce all-candidates’ debate at the Richmond Country Club.
“The Richmond Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to now have two federal ridings exclusively on Lulu Island,” said Matt Pitcairn, executive director of the chamber. “On Sept. 30, in partnership with the Richmond News, we have the privilege of asking the eight federal candidates from both ridings, their stance on the issues that matter most to our membership and the community-at-large.
“In addition to the traditional debate format, for the first time in Richmond, we are excited to introduce a new interactive engagement tool called Pidgeon Hole Live, which will allow every attendee to participate live, via their smartphone.”
By entering an event passcode provided at the debate, the audience can send their questions for the candidates, and also vote their support for questions from other audience members that will be displayed on a large video screen.
“The questions that receive the most votes will appear at the top of the list and will be asked by the event moderators,” Pitcairn said. “This interactive platform will allow everyone to participate and will ensure that the most popular questions in the room are raised.”
Help will be on hand for those without access to a smartphone or who need assistance asking their question.
Interspersed among the Pidgeon Hole Live questions will be those queries on a number of topics including the economy, as well as issues important to chamber members, Pitcairn said.
While the debate portion of the event from 7 p.m. is open to the public, a meet and greet session with the candidates beforehand requires ticket purchase — $10 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. Space is limited and advanced registration is required by calling 604-278-2822.
CARP all-candidates meeting
When: Thursday Oct. 1, 1 - 3 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Church at South Arm United Church (11051 No. 3 Rd.)
As you might expect, issues affecting seniors will be at the forefront of questions at CARP’s (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) all candidates meeting Oct. 1 inside the Pioneer Church on the grounds of South Arm United Church.
“We will be touching on a number of hot button issues,” said Geoff Cowman, chairman-elect of the Richmond group. “Among them will be some major financial concerns, such as old age security, and the way seniors are forced to collapse their savings into an RRIF at 71 when many people are still working beyond that age. Then there’s healthcare and generally how the government will handle this grey tsunami that is coming. And then there’s the matter of death with dignity.”
The event will precede CARP’s annual general meeting.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the all-candidates portion, but only CARP members will be permitted to ask questions.
Compassion and social justice all-candidates meeting
When: Monday Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. (meet and greet) 7 - 9 p.m. (all-candidates meeting)
Where: Gilmore Park United Church
(8060 No. 1 Rd.)
Looking to broach issues beyond the economy and delve into social justice and Canada’s role is what is planned at the all candidates meeting in the sanctuary of Gilmore Park United Church on Oct. 5.
“Canada is known as a caring country and we wanted to view the meeting through that lens,” said De Whalen, chair of the Richmond Poverty Response Committee which is helping organize the event along with Gilmore Park United Church, the Richmond chapter of Amnesty International, and KAIROS, an umbrella group of Christian churches and religious organizations. “We also want to ask the candidates what their vision is for Canada as a caring and compassionate country.”
Whalen said the format of the event will feature written questions from the audience. There will not be an open mic.
Organizers will also ask candidates questions based on the theme of the meeting, including: violence against women and children, affordable housing, healthcare, national poverty reduction strategies and Canada’s role in international development.
RCD all-candidates meeting
When: Wednesday Oct. 7. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; meeting 6 - 8 p.m.
Where: Minoru Place Activity Centre
(7660 Minoru Gate)
Richmond Centre for Disability gets into the debate action with its own event on Oct. 7 at Minoru Place Activity Centre, formerly known as Minoru Seniors’ Centre.
“There will be a focus on issues of disability, such as potential changes to the RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan), and disability acts across the country,” , said Ella Huang, RCD’s executive director. “But we will also welcome questions on any topic, although we expect that since we are holding this event at Minoru Place Activity Centre which delivers services and activities to the senior population, a good number of their membership will be on hand to ask questions about seniors’ issues.”
VOTING INFORMATION ISSUED
Unlike in the B.C. provincial elections where voters can vote at any polling station, in the federal election voters must go to the polling location that has been assigned to them.
Personalized Voter Information Cards (VIC) that contain personalized polling location information are currently being sent to registered voters’ homes. VICs identify each voter’s poll number and location for election day, Oct. 19, and the one for advanced polling days (Thanksgiving weekend Oct. 9-12 from noon to 8 p.m.)
Voters who haven’t received their VIC by Oct. 1, or whose card shows the wrong address, can register or update their address online. Or, they can drop by a local Elections Canada office.
Elections Canada offices can be found on the Elections Canada home page at www.elections.ca.
Voters can also call their local Elections Canada office or call the toll-free line 1-800-463-6868.
Voters can vote today and any time up until Oct. 13 by 6 pm local time at an Elections Canada office using a Special Ballot.
Elections Canada offices are open seven days a week.