Leading up to the election, the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce will host three virtual election forums, one for mayoral candidates, and two for council candidates.
The mayoral forum will take place on Oct. 7, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Two other virtual forums will be held for council candidates on Oct. 12 and 13, both from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The chamber is asking attendees to pre-register online (a link to the location of the virtual forum will be sent to registered attendees ahead of each forum), and to submit questions in writing prior to the forum via email at [email protected] These will be asked alongside the questions compiled by the Chamber's government affairs committee.
"Your question may be reworded a bit to make it more inclusive of other questions that were asked," said Shelly Nichol, the forum's internal director of operations.
Nichol noted the chamber is nonpartisan, but has always sponsored a candidate forum.
"We feel it's something our business members and the community at large find useful to making an informed decision on election day," Nichol said.
While the format of the mayoral forum will be a standard question and answer, where all candidates answer the same questions, the council candidate forums will operate a bit differently.
On both nights, council candidates will be separated into three groups. The questions will fall under topic umbrellas, and there will be one question per group under each topic. Nichol said this is to save on time, because there are 20 council candidates.
"Each council candidate will also get an opportunity to use what we're calling a 'wild card,'" Nichol said. "That'll give them the opportunity to answer a question that may not have been asked to their group."
The council forum will be moderated by Stephen Khan — a current member of the Chamber's government affairs committee — and the mayoral forum will be moderated by Curtis Crouse, the Chamber's 2021 volunteer chair.
On the first night, council candidates will have two minutes to give opening remarks, and one minute the following night for a closing rebuttal. Mayoral candidates will have three minutes for opening statements during their forum, and two minutes for closing rebuttals.
The forums will be timed, and candidates will be muted if they exceed their time limit. Nichol said the forums will also have a five-minute break at the halfway mark, so those attending and those participating can have a break from their screens.