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Candidates forum a game changer for some voters

Voters from the Grande Prairie and Grande Prairie-Wapiti ridings left Tuesday night’s All Candidates Forum with answers to some of their most burning questions.

Nearly every candidate from both ridings took 18 questions from the audience with topics ranging from pipelines to highway infrastructure. Independent candidate for Grande Prairie Rony Rajput was absent from the event.

However, answers surrounding education, budget platforms, and delays surrounding the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital were the most sought after by those in the audience.

While no debating was actually allowed as candidates were strictly timed and asked to speak one at a time, the format seemed to do the trick for many potential voters.

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“It was done in a really respectful way tonight and everyone shared their opinion. It was great,” one Grande Prairie-Wapiti voter said.

For others, like Mary from the Grande Prairie riding, it was a refreshing change to what she called the mudslinging often seen with open forums or debates.

“They each had a chance to answer the same question, in order, not talking over each other so you could understand. Some of their views were very very different; it was surprising, but that’s what it’s all about,”

For some in the crowd, the clear and concise format was enough to swing them from undecided to a confirmed vote just six days before the election.

“That’s exactly what happened,” says Grande Prairie-Wapiti voter Chris. “I wasn’t specifically leaning one way or another, but I heard enough information so far that I made up my mind.”

Just more than 500 voters took in the forum held at the Douglas J. Cardinal theatre inside Grande Prairie Regional College. Staff and security say they also turned away at least 50 more at the door when they reached capacity.

Advance polls are open in both Grande Prairie & Grande Prairie-Wapiti until April 13th. The provincial election is set for April 16th.

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