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All-candidates forum slated for April 14 at Senior's Drop-In Centre

Residents looking to gain better insight as to where federal election candidates stand on various issues will have their chance on April 14.

Residents looking to gain better insight as to where federal election candidates stand on various issues will have their chance on April 14.

The Friends of the Barrhead Library is partnering with the Leader and the Barrhead Chamber of Commerce to stage an all-candidates forum. The venue is the large hall at the Senior’s Drop-In Centre and the debate gets underway at 7 p.m. and wraps up around 9 p.m. Friends of the Barrhead Library member Sharon Mueller said the reason the library is taking this on, is its sole function is to provide the free exchange of information.

“The public needs to be educated on these candidates prior to going to the polls in the federal election,” Mueller said. “This is our way of making it easier for people to get informed about who they are voting for.”

Past forums have been really well attended, Mueller said, with upwards of 80 people showing up to listen to candidates debate the issues. Disappointingly, all those who go to the debate tend to be senior citizens, she said.

“I think we’ve seen perhaps 10 people under the age of 40,” Mueller said. “What’s happened in the past, is the candidates are given a few minutes each to talk about themselves and tell the public why they have decided to run in the election. Then questions from the audience will be directed to the candidates, and they’ll be given time to give their answers.”

The Friends of the Barr-head Library has played host to debates for both the provincial and federal elections in the past. Mueller said her group finds these events are “very informative for anyone in attendance, and this is where people can find out about issues of concern to them.”

As of the Leader’s press deadline, incumbent Rob Merrifield of the Progressive Conservative Party has confirmed his attendance, as has Monica Schaeffer of the Green Party, Melissa Brade of the Canadian Action Party, Jake Strydhorst of the Christian Heritage Party and Mark Wells of the New Democrat Party. Zach Siezmagraff of the Liberal Party stated he would make “every effort to attend,” Mueller said. “It looks like we’ll have all six candidates.” Ken Jersch has agreed to moderate.

Mueller is reminding the electorate that any potential voter must prove his or her identity and address in order to cast their ballot. There are three options available, including showing one original piece of identification with a photo, name and address. It must be issued by a government agency; showing two original pieces of authorized identification. Both pieces must have the person’s name and one must also have their address; and swearing an oath and having an elector who knows you vouch for you. This person must have authorized identification and be from the same polling division as you. This person can only vouch for one person.