For every election in District 12 for as long as I can remember, we have had public debates. In 2020, Richard Zurawski has refused to participate. Why? In 2016, community groups organized two debates, on two different nights in two different locations.
Covid-19 has presented major challenges, but in our district and throughout HRM, they are holding online debates. Thankfully, the BLT Resident Associations have been working hard to set this up for Thursday evening.
Debates are often the only time during a campaign when candidates are together at the same time in the same place. This allows voters to make side-by-side comparisons. The opportunity is an important part of our elections and our democracy. If a candidate won't answer your questions or speak in a public forum to the community while trying to earn your vote, do you really think they'll care about your concerns or return your calls after they get elected?
That is why I have always said "yes" to any debates or surveys from community groups or residents. I am the candidate that will always answer the call.
What Is a Candidate Debate?
A candidate debate is a neutral, dignified forum where candidates or others competing for elected officials respond to the same questions, as posed by voters, a moderator or other debaters. Listeners are able to compare the candidates’ positions on issues.
Candidates mutually agree on rules, mostly regarding response and speaking time, to ensure fairness. Debates normally include some interaction among candidates through rebuttals or follow-on questions.
Goal of Debates
Debates address issues — not persons, religion or ethnicity. They will promote political tolerance, constructive dialogue and service to the people.
Debates Inform Voters
Debates are often the only time during a campaign when candidates are together at the same time in the same place. This gives voters an opportunity to make side-by-side comparisons and gives candidates a chance to say why they are best suited for the elected office.
Debates Help Reduce Political Tensions
In divided election environments or countries emerging from conflict, debates give political rivals a chance to show that, despite their differences, they can treat each other with mutual respect while they disagree on the issues.
Debates also provide a chance for candidates to commit publicly to a peaceful election, including agreeing to accept election results and use nonviolent legal channels to resolve election disputes.
Debates Promote Accountability of Elected Officials
During a debate, a candidate’s statements, policy positions and campaign promises become part of the public record. Once winning candidates take office, civic groups and the media can hold them accountable by citing transcripts or press coverage of debates.
Debates Highlight the Health of a Democracy
Debates are increasingly seen as benchmarks of a healthy democracy. Citizens view debates as an indication of an open, transparent election process where all candidates can compete equally.