David Staples: Candidate not allowed to criticize Don Iveson at mayoral forum? Huh!?

At the final Edmonton mayoral forum this week, moderator Dave Robertson tried to shut down candidate Steve Shewchuk after Shewchuk criticized incumbent Don Iveson’s handling of the NAIT LRT traffic fiasco.

It was one of the strangest things I’ve witnessed in covering the news in Alberta for more than 30 years. A candidate not permitted to question and criticize the incumbent on his record at a public forum in a civic election? That makes no sense.

The odd turn of events started with a behind-the-scenes meeting between Robertson and the 13 mayoral candidates before the event. Shewchuk said Robertson told candidates not to use foul language, to be respectful and to stay away from personal attacks. Shewchuk took this to mean he couldn’t call another candidate an idiot or a liar, but that he could criticize their ideas and their record.

As the forum unfolded, a citizen asked the candidates when they’d fix the Metro LRT line to NAIT from blocking traffic. Various candidates then piled on with complaints.

“I one day spent 22 minutes waiting at that intersection and watching these primitive trolley cars crawl across,” said candidate Ron Cousineau, a businessman. “Horses could have pulled them faster.”

“The new one, the Valley Line LRT (to Millwoods), they say it’s gonna to be done in 2020,” said Justin Thomas, a police officer. “But I think it will be done in 2030. We have to figure out the signals and whatnot.”

Bus rapid transit is far cheaper and is the way to go, Thomas said.

“That LRT is an absolute mess,” said Taz Bouchier, a social worker. “I’ve sat on the bus waiting nine minutes for the light to change, then when the light changed, the arm goes down and the train is coming by and you’re waiting again.”

City council should have gone …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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