Election 2015: Four meetings for Maple Ridge candidates

First one is Sunday at seniors centre.

Maple Ridge council isn’t just going to sit back and let the federal election happen without it chipping in what it can.

This Sunday, local councillors are hosting the five contenders for the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge seat, at an all-candidates debate with questions and answers, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The action takes place at Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, on 224th Street.

“It’s so exciting,” said Coun. Corisa Bell, who received her council’s support for the idea. Most of the city councillors should be there to hear their would-be federal counterparts.

The city has proposed three debate topics, the justice system, housing and the environment, which candidates will discuss for an hour.

“Everyone’s confirmed,” Bell said.

Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green and independent candidates will be there.

“The intent of this is not to be a confrontation. It is not a place to take out personal issues.

“This is going to be a community conversation about the candidates who are running,” Bell said.

Doors will open at 1 p.m. so people can mingle a bit.

And you don’t even have to be there to participate. Twitter and Facebook will allow you to send in your question, which could be posed to the candidates by a panel. Use the #Engage2015 hashtag.

As well, voter registration will be possible at the event for anyone who’s not on the list, Bell pointed out.

Questions will also come from the floor.

Another all-candidates’ meeting takes place Thursday, Oct. 1, at Whonnock Lake Centre, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Each candidate will give a three-minute opening speech, followed by a two-minute rebuttal. After a 10-minute break, written questions from the floor will be added.

Candidates then will give a two-minute summary.

However, organizer Phil Jonson said Conservative candidate Mike Murray won’t be at the event, saying he was told that the Conservatives are going to only two all-candidates’ meetings in the campaign.

Murray’s campaign manager Davis Friesen said it’s a matter of scheduling. He said Murray committed earlier to the first two debates that take place on Sept. 27 and Oct. 5.

“Very simply, it’s just scheduling.”

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce also wants the candidates to compete for votes at its all candidates’ meeting, Monday, Oct. 5 at Meadowridge School, at 12224 – 240th St.

All five candidates will be at that event, which runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Everyone’s welcome and there’s no charge.

The Maple Ridge Public Library is another venue to see the candidates in person. The library is hosting an informal meet-and-greet on Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Candidates can bring their pamphlets and chat with votes in an informal setting.