An all-candidates debate in Bowser might be a one-man show.
Incumbent Bill Veenhof said he will not attend an all-candidates debate hosted by an organization he’s calling “non-neutral.”
Veenhof has been the regional district director representing Deep Bay/Bowser for the past three years.
He’s declined Mapleguard Ratepayers’ Association’s (MRA) invitation to an all-candidates debate slated for Nov. 4.
“I think an all-candidates meeting is a great idea,” Veenhof told The NEWS. “But I think we would all be better served if an all-candidates meeting was sponsored and organized by neutral community organizers.”
Veenhof said MRA has not “demonstrated neutrality.” He alleges senior members of the organization have sent e-mail correspondence suggesting they want Veenhof out of office.
However, the organization’s president Dianne Eddy said in an e-mail “Mapleguard Ratepayers’ Association works to provide all candidates and those with political issues a method to get the word out during this short timeline (election period). Raising the awareness of the election and election issues is the goal.”
Eddy confirmed MRA’s all-candidates debate would continue on, even without the incumbent. She said a table reserved for Veenhof and chairs for his supporters would be provided at the meeting regardless of his attendance.
As of Oct. 10, Veenhof faced two other candidates: Greg Gingras and Donald Mussell.
But by Saturday, Oct. 18 Gingras’ name did not appear on the candidates list on the civic election website.
Gingras confirmed with The NEWS he withdrew his candidacy for the municipal election.
The all-candidates meeting sponsored by MRA will be Nov. 4 at the Lighthouse Community Centre. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. and the meeting will start at 7 p.m.
The Lighthouse Country Business Association’s board of directors announced last week it would host an all-candidates meeting for the upcoming election at
10 a.m. on Nov. 8 at the Lighthouse Community Hall. The LCBA indicated all candidates running for the RDN area director position will be contacted and invited. Veenhof confirmed he will attend the LCBA meeting.