King’s Town councillor candidate Byron Emmons refuses to attend all-candidates’ meeting
The Coalition of Kingston Communities organized an all-candidates’ meeting for the King’s Town district on Monday evening, but only one of the two candidates running in the district agreed to attend.
Byron Emmons, who is running against long-time councillor Rob Hutchison, says he is refusing to attend any events sponsored by what he calls “special interest groups.”
“I refuse to compromise my constituents’ integrity by bowing to some organization who doesn’t seem to know who they even represent or even willing to admit who they represent,” Emmons said.
Emmons says he also refused to participate in a similar event, organized by the Kingston chamber of commerce.
The coalition chair Christine Sypnowich says the umbrella organization, which has over a dozen neighbourhood and issue-oriented organizations as members, has done what it can to be transparent and identify the group’s mandate, which is to foster conversation about the city of Kingston among its members.
She added that not participating is a lost opportunity for Emmons.
“I think it’s an odd decision, really self destructive decision to not take advantage of an opportunity from any group to address the people who come to that meeting,” Sypnowich said.
Emmons questioned if the people who attended were even from the district, and while the meeting was open to the public, Emmons says the coalition hasn’t done a proper job of inviting district residents.
On his Facebook page, Emmons has a lengthy statement that accuses the the coalition of trying to misguide and coerce constituents and use “Trump-style” politics.
He also contacted the city clerk’s office, which is overseeing the election, asking for an investigation into the all candidates meeting, which was denied.
“They said that these organizations are allowed as they see fit, so long as they’re not spending any money to endorse the candidates.”
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Hutchison says he is concerned there is a disturbing trend in politics as a whole, a trend of politicians and candidates not willing to engage with all section of the public.
“There’s way too much of this today, where really as a community we should be coming together and trying to find common cause and as much consensus as possible. “
The Coalition of Kingston Communities has organized all-candidates’ meetings for all twelve councillor seats and the mayoral race.
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