EDITORIAL – Candidates off to a slow start at first civic election forum

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE FIRST FORUM of the civic election campaign is on the books and while none of the candidates stood out as obvious picks, it did provide some clues as to where the focus will be.

Almost a hundred people watched and listened Saturday morning as candidates got their first chance to speak to a crowd. The Council of Canadians forum at the Farmers Market has become a tradition and is a great chance for hopefuls to get their feet wet.

As I predicted quite some time ago, social disorder is going to be Number One in this election. That will be a challenge for business-oriented candidates who will have to pivot from the usual focus on jobs and economy.

Some of those who stepped up to the microphone Saturday — especially councillor candidates who had two minutes to impress — had clearly not put a lot of thought into what they were going to say. Formulating their comments ahead of time would have helped — one candidate wisely wrote his down.

There were, however, some interesting remarks, especially from the newbies. Bonnie Cleland candidly admitted, “I don’t have all the answers.” Mac Gordon talked about being “pissed off” about the state of affairs at City Hall, saying council has to start “saying no” to staff. And Taj Sandur, at 33, is going after the younger vote.

Frankly, mayoral hopefuls were lacklustre. They need to develop Q&As for themselves so they don’t get stuck on what should be predictable questions. At times, they simply failed to take advantage of opportunities to clearly explain what sets them apart from their competitors.

Another disappointment was that a half dozen candidates, including mayoral candidate Ray Dhaliwal, weren’t there. It was a busy Saturday and they undoubtedly had other commitments but they were missed.

There will, however, be several other forums, so candidates will have a chance to improve their speaking skills and ability to think on their feet.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at




About Mel Rothenburger (9504 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Candidates off to a slow start at first civic election forum

  1. It seems the mood of the voters could have an impact on the outcome of this election. The general talk around coffee shops seems to have some unpleasant overtones.
    Are the members of the voting public at the tipping point with rhetoric by incumbents about the drug subculture?
    I heard one of the incumbent candidates today stating that she too is tired of the violence, the thefts etc. yet she was part of the secret meetings that enabled the establishment of places that are now affecting families who have lived here and called this city our home. It was as if the input from the voting public was not worthwhile, of no particular value and therefore, what the incumbents did was taken as a betrayal by the general public who are now being asked to support these candidates.
    Every politician started as a newly elected politician. That might be the best outcome in sending a message to those who treated us so badly during their term in office.

  2. Admittedly I didn’t stay for the form, self-employment ahead of winter keeps me hopping. I was impressed by the preparedness of Mr. Sunderman. His binder with a print-out of his plans, with coloured charts and statistical references was praise-worthy in my opinion. Hence I am surprised to read you were not impressed. I am not surprised though by the lack of preparedness by the mayoral candidates. It is telling their social media presence which is noticeably short in substance and for some, compounded by a lack of enthusiasm. Personally I see the next four years going sideways pretty quick once a new council is elected.

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