Posted by: HamptonIona | October 22, 2010

A Letter to The Ottawa Citizen

The following letter to the Ottawa Citizen regarding the recent all-candidates debate organized by Hampton Iona Community Group, Island Park Community Association, Wellington Village Community Association and Westboro Community Association was published on October 23.  We were very concerned with the coverage provided by the Ottawa Citizen and the attempt they made to infer that the community associations had an agenda in posing their questions.  The only agenda that we have is to seek the maximum amount of information possible on the candidates’ position on issues that affect our ward and immediate community so that our residents could make up their minds with respect to for whom they should vote.  Hampton Iona Community Group has not endorsed any candidate in this election.

To the Editor,

Ms. Green’s article on the recent Kitchissippi Ward’s all-candidates debate misrepresents the role of community associations in organizing such events.   As coordinator of the event and on behalf of the four sponsoring community associations, Hampton Iona Community Group, Island Park Community Association, Wellington Village Community Association and Westboro Community Association, I wish to set the record straight.  Questions put to the candidates were not targeted against any individual candidate. It would not have been appropriate for us to have done that and we did not.  As community associations, it is not our role to take sides.  We take that responsibility seriously.

Local politics are important because they have an immediate and direct effect on where we live.  We believe the City is best served by a well-informed and engaged  electorate.    Our only intention was to provide residents in the Ward with an opportunity to hear the views of all the candidates on the key issues of the day affecting the community in an impartial and unbiased forum. In Kitchissippi Ward that obviously includes the prospective development of the controversial Soeurs de la Visitation Convent.  The Citizen evidently thinks that asking the candidates to be specific in saying how they would deal with the Convent issue amounted to an intentional targetting of one of the candidates.   They are wrong.  We were in fact seeking clarity on this issue from all three candidates.  We would be astonished if any objective listener present could have come to The Citizen’s view.    The 200 Ward residents who attended the meeting can decide for themselves.

Our concern is that the Citizen reaches the wider audience of people who were not there and who will not have been well served by a less than factual representation of what happened at the meeting.  Because  volunteer community associations play such a pivotal intermediary role in election campaigns by organizing such events, we want to set the record straight.

Judith Shane

Hampton Iona Community Group

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