ANSWER from Mayor Dave Ryan and Councillor Maurice Brenner explaining why the City of Pickering cannot do a “campaign town hall.”

Recently, a number of campaigners asked why BOOKz, COOKz, NOOKz couldn’t do an all-candidates town hall. The simple answer is the technical skills/expertise to doing such a potentially large undertaking was beyond us.

However, recognizing how important such an endeavour would be to help the electorate become more informed about the candidates, the endeavour was pursued with Mayor Ryan, Pickering Library Board member, Councillor Brenner and Pickering Library CEO Jackie Flowers.

The replies received were as follows:

Councillor Brenner responded that it was a conflict of interest for him to get involved.

Mayor Ryan responded…
“Richard, thank you for your suggestion. 

The City of Pickering Use of Corporate Resources for Election Purposes Procedure specifically prohibits City involvement in candidate meetings either in person or virtual.   I have excerpted the following for reference: 

All Candidates Meeting means a public meeting held to provide an opportunity for all Candidates to explain their election platform and to answer questions from the audience.

City Staff will not provide any services or assistance for All Candidates Meetings.

In my experience, all candidate meetings are conducted by the Ajax/Pickering Board of Trade and local community (ratepayer) associations.  City facilities may be rented for candidate meetings, with the Clerks approval. 

I understand the library has the same operating restriction.

CEO Jackie Flowers was on vacation but Elaine Bird, Director of Support Services responded on her behalf:

Hello Richard

Jackie asked me to respond to your email as she is on vacation this week. Thanks for your suggestion. We have investigated and under the Use of Resources during an Election policy, the Library is not able to host an all-candidates meeting. If another organization wanted to host such an event in the Library, that would be within the policy guidelines. We are planning to host some civic engagement activities at the Library to encourage people to register to vote and to remind them about how and when to vote.

Thanks for your interest in the Library.


The responses received are less than satisfactory though they may be accurate or politically correct. They are unsatisfactory for very obvious reasons: they solve nothing, offer no solution. They simply close the door on the suggestion. leaving much to be desired. Unacceptable.

The suggestion of a town hall for all candidates to present themselves, their campaign positions and their political platforms is an obviously important event to hold. Justifying why it cannot be done, no matter how sound in basis, is unacceptable.

Instead, the respondents could have taken a more constructive position. Rather than simply saying “NO…with whatever justification,” would it not have been better to suggest the possible way it could be done? Mayor Ryan comes close to that better response in explaining the Ajax/Pickering Board of Trade and local community (ratepayer) associations as potential routes to take.

Mayor Ryan clearly demonstrates with his response why his retirement will be a sad loss for the city. He could have responded curtly and to the point that it was contrary to election bylaws. He did not but took it a step beyond, saying there may be a way…..

So the ball is back in “who’s court?” mine I guess.

I have done a follow up and as the saying goes, I have some good news and some bad news….

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