Mayoral candidates address unity and fairness at the Council table

Last week, Merritt’s four mayoral candidates answered their third weekly Herald question, regarding the use of N’Kwala Park for overnight camping and support for Merritt’s homeless. With eighteen council candidates, they form one of the largest candidate pools the municipality has ever seen. With voters faced with a wide variety of choices, the Herald seeks to engage the candidates and showcase their responses to the community’s question.

This week, the four mayoral candidates answered their last weekly question, regarding the unity of the city council. Their answers, in random order:

This week’s question: If elected, how would you unify the council and ensure councilors’ views are fairly represented at meetings?

Mike Bhangu (Councillor, 2018-2021)

“My personality does not present an obstacle to unity or healthy discussion. Also, I invite reasonable dissent because it can produce the best decision, and I really like a good debate. To do this, a leader must respect the fact that dissent is not a personal attack or an attempt by others to climb the political ladder, but an opportunity.

“As someone who has experienced marginalization in the political forum, this does not create a productive environment. Once the games that come with relegation enter the decision-making arena, the best result is not achieved and energy is exerted in attack. Elected officials risk a great deal to represent the people and they do not deserve to be silenced, intimidated, complicit or discredited.

“When differences of opinion arise, I like to listen and understand why one believes as they do, then identify and incorporate something into their idea that aligns with the overall idea. To add, I’m good at reading body language, tone, etc. and possible correlations with unspoken ideas. With this, I can often build consensus within a group.

Linda Brown (mayor, incumbent)

“Listening to each other in a respectful debate is essential to understanding each other. It is essential that the Council has the ear of the public in order to bring the many aspects of the issue into debate. It is expected that there are many sides to a debate. Each adviser must be able to express themselves freely, without interruption. It is up to all of us to respect this right. Advisors need to be able to speak their minds and be confident that others are actively listen. This is where we can change the minds of others.

“According to the community charter, advisors must come to the table with an open mind. Our procedures tell us that we, as a council, must accept this result.

“The debate is where we as a team listen carefully to each other first and then form an opinion at the time. Unity consists in accepting the decision of the board. Once a decision has been made, it is a decision of the Council. We speak with one voice. Even if the vote is 4 to 3, we must all rally behind the decision. »

Mike Goetz (Councillor, 2008-2018)

“Sometimes being a good leader means knowing how to step back and let the adviser who has the passion for the motion take the lead. The best way to unite a council is to give all members equal time to introduce themselves and speak. In short, listen to them. That’s all any of us want.

To see the weekly question asked of council and school board candidates, as well as all of the Herald’s coverage of this election, see the “Civic Elections” tab on the Herald’s website.

The municipal election will take place on October 15 and will see the residents of Merritton elect a mayor and six councilors for a four-year term. For more information on the election, visit www.merritt.ca/election22.

About Florence L. Silvia

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