Spectators who came out to watch the St. Albert all-candidates provincial election forum this past Thursday say they were impressed with what they saw.
On Thursday night, more than 200 people attended the forum, which was hosted by the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce. All seven provincial candidates running for the St. Albert riding took part in opening and closing statements as well as lightning-round questions gathered from the audience.Participants included Alberta Green Party candidate Cameron Jefferies, Alberta Independence Party candidate Sheldon Gron, NDP incumbent candidate Marie Renaud, Alberta Party candidate Barry Bailey, Alberta Advantage Party candidate Don Petruka, Alberta Liberal Party candidate Kevin McLean and UCP candidate Jeff Wedman.
Many attendees were impressed with the turnout and were happy to see so many residents engaged in the political process.
“I thought it was very well attended, by a diverse group of people,” Tom Genore said.
Attendees said they were also impressed with the tone of the debate and the decorum of the candidates.
Gail Lane said she appreciated how the candidates treated each other during the forum and didn’t sling any mud.
“They were really good to one another,” Lane said.
Lane said she found the forum very informative and plans to do a bit more research on the party platforms before she casts her vote, but she said she is pretty sure she is voting for Rachel Notley's team.
Genore said the format organized by the chamber helped keep the candidates and the forum on track.
"The format was very well structured and didn't leave much room for bickering and talking over one another," Genore said.
Amanda Allan said she already voted in the advance polls but came out to the forum to see the candidates in action. She was very impressed by how knowledgeable each of them was about the city and issues.
“I appreciated that they each brought a different perspective to the conversation. It was very informative,” Allan said.
Through the night, the candidates took seven questions submitted to chamber moderators by audience members, ranging from healthcare, education and the environment to trust in the party. Many spectators said they appreciated the questions and noted they covered a broad range of topics.
Overall, some residents thought some candidates preformed better than others.
St. Albert resident Kevin Malinowski said he was impressed with Jefferies and that he answered every question and did it well.
Malinowski said he was also impressed with how Renaud kept her answers local and relevant to St. Albert.
“(Renaud) was keyed a lot on St. Albert. She keyed on what the party has done in Alberta and for St. Albert. This is what was really missing in the other candidates, I don’t know what they would do for me, you and other St. Albertans.”
Genore said he was also impressed Renaud’s responses as they showed she had knowledge of the city and a genuine desire to make life better for people in the city, but overall he was pleased with most of the candidates.
“I found most of the candidates gave heartfelt answers that related to St. Albert and the constituents they would represent,” Genore said.