By COLLIN GALLANT on September 29, 2021.
Campaigning during a health pandemic is presenting challenges for candidates looking to get their points across and voters looking for more information.
A record number of council candidates, health restrictions dampening traditional meet-and-greets, even larger forums and a new move to social media has left some heads spinning.
A handful each day have called the News asking for specific or general information about candidates, who themselves are attempting to reach a wide audience of voters on social media.
Ongoing coverage and remaining profiles of candidates are published as they become available.
The News provides a specific archive of its election stories and profiles on its webpage, and will on Oct. 9 print a special election supplement tasking candidates to answer a standardized set list of questions outlining platforms.
In the meantime, incumbents and challengers are taking the task online, adding social media presence to a mushrooming number of signs in town and traditional media coverage.
Mayoral incumbent Ted Clugston announced he will begin providing “Ted Talks” on social media every Wednesday, answering submitted questions to his campaign’s Facebook account.
Mayoral challenger Linnsie Clark has invited any council candidate to join her in mini-forums broadcast online or at small in-person venues outdoor venues throughout the week, with the events archived for future viewing.
Several local podcast producers have also invited candidates on to discuss issues, and the “Medicine Hat Civic Election 2021” Facebook group, founded by local investment dealer Craig Elder, has 2,700 members who pose general questions, and candidates respond.
About half of council candidates and all mayoral candidates took part in a forum at the Cypress Centre last week. About 60 residents attended in person and about 1,100 viewers tuned in online at the website http://www.pimedianetwork.com, where a replay is available.
That was organized by the Medicine Hat Retirement Villa, which put a twist on the traditional candidate meet-and-greats typically arranged by some seniors homes and condo boards.
Similarly, the Chamber of Commerce, which arranges election forums each time Hatters go to the ballot box, will instead upload pre-taped videos of candidates answering questions on its website next week.
The “vote prosperity” initiative will begin posting interviews Oct. 4. Some biographical information is online now on the chamber’s website (www.medicinehatchamber.com).
The Medicine Hat Labour Council will also release a list of endorsements as per usual.