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Mayoral candidates to focus on business

By Morgan Davy [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Belleville Chamber of Commerce [2]will host a mayoral debate Thursday night at the Empire Theatre. [3]

Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Saunders [4] says this evening will focus on Belleville’s business community.

“Really it’s about the economy of the city and where we’re going. How the candidates see the city growing with a focus on these specific questions,” he said.

These specific questions, however, will remain confidential until they are asked at the debate.

Saunders says the order candidates will speak in is decided through a random draw. He says it’s important for keep the process fair.

“The chamber is apolitical. We don’t favor one candidate over the other with any election. Our mandate is to put the questions out there so people can understand each candidate’s policies, and then people can vote based on the answers to those policy questions.”

Saunders is urging all members of the community to attend tonight’s debate.

“I would really encourage people to take advantage of all of the various events. This is an important election. Unfortunately we tend to get less than 50 per cent of eligible voters and we need the public to be engaged. These candidates have put their name out there. They’re spending time, money and energy to try and represent the concerns of the voters. I think as voters we have a responsibility to respect that and do our part, which is get out there and vote.”

Opening comments are scheduled to begin at 7p.m., but candidates will be available at 6 to chat informally with people in the lobby.