Editor's note: Since the writing of this article, Alysha Bates entered the race for Division 7 in Rocky View County, against incumbent Al Schule.
As Alberta’s political focus swings from the recent federal election to the upcoming municipal election, the Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership (YELL) Youth Council is set to host an all-candidates forum Sept. 29 that features local council and public school board hopefuls.
“This is a really good learning experience for [YELL], and they do a really good job,” said Patty Sproule, executive director with Synergy Youth and Community Development Society.
Considering the youth council has already held six provincial and four municipal forums since 2007, and following on the heels of its first federal event hosted on Sept. 17, Sproule said the team has gotten pretty familiar with how to host a proper election forum.
She added preparation for YELL’s upcoming municipal and school board forums started in April. The six YELL members, aged 16 and older, contacted each candidate directly for interviews to get to know them and their platforms.
They also worked on the logistics of each event through a committee to ensure the forums will run smoothly, according to Sproule.
“There is a lot of work involved, for sure,” she said.
The RVC council forum, which is set to take place on Sept. 29, will include candidates for Divisions 6 and 7. As of press time, candidates for Division 6 include current councillor Jerry Gautreau, former RVC councillor Rolly Ashdown, and newcomers Sunny Samra and Jeremy Stinson. As for Division 7, current Langdon-area councillor Al Schule is currently the only candidate in the running.
One Rocky View Schools Board of Trustees candidate, Brandi Lee Mouck, is also set to attend the forum, as of press time.
An emcee will be in attendance to introduce a youth panel, who will present all of the attending candidates. Members of the public are able to submit questions for the event ahead of time, which will be read to and answered by candidates during the forum.
In light of recent health restrictions announced by the Alberta government, the venue will implement a one-third capacity rule, and masking will be in effect for the event’s duration.
The forum, according to Sproule, is the perfect opportunity for people in east Rocky View County to get to know who is running in the municipal and public school board elections this October. She said people can look forward to a professional program.
“It is very well organized and efficient,” she said. “It will be organized and on time.”
Even though the voting age in Canada is 18, Sproule spoke about the importance of getting youth involved with the democratic process early and said part of the role of YELL is to encourage older residents to get out and vote.
“They serve as a real inspiration for other young people,” she said.
The RVC forum will be held on Sept. 29 at the Indus Recreation Centre. The event doors will open at 6:45 p.m., with the forum running from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m.
Questions to be asked can also be submitted until Sept. 23 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org