Basran sings to the choir in arts and diversity debate for mayoral candidates - InfoNews

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Basran sings to the choir in arts and diversity debate for mayoral candidates

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October 11, 2018 - 7:37 AM

KELOWNA - Three of the four men running for Kelowna Mayor in the Oct. 20 municipal election were asked, at an Arts Council forum Wednesday, if they had participated in Pride marches in the past and why (or why not).

That was a no-brainer for Mayor Colin Basran.

“I think it’s pretty clear where my heart is on this issue,” he said. “One of first things that council did when we started this past term was to paint rainbow crosswalks in our community as a show of solidarity that Kelowna is an accepting and inclusive place for all people. I have, and I will continue to march in the Pride Parade and the Trans March, whether I’m elected mayor or not.”

His chief rival, Tom Dyas, acknowledged that he has not participated.

“As mayor of this community, it would be important, and it is my responsibility, to be inclusive of everyone in this community,” he said. “Have I (participated) in the past? No. Would it be my responsibility to do it in the future, as the mayor? Yes.”

He went on to tell a story about an “extreme” person in his life, who is very important to him, who choose a path of “diversity.”

“Initially, just because of my background and my culture, it was a little bit difficult for me to understand that,” Dyas said. “But this person is a person that I love, and straightforward to them, I said, no matter what direction you actually choose, you will continually and forever have my love.”

Fellow contender Bobby Kennedy spent his two minute response time talking about the time he and a buddy were driving back from California and accidently stumbled on the San Francisco and Portland Gay Pride marches and having a lot of fun.

The fourth mayoralty candidate, Bob Shewe, begged off due to illness.

The forum was tightly focused on the arts, inclusivity and diversity. Each candidate answered the same four questions – which they were provided in advance and given time to prepare for.

Basran, clearly, was the most polished speaker and best focused on the task at hand. He rattled off numbers about the economic contribution of arts to the community (more than 1,300 jobs with a $57 million annual payroll).

Dyas talked about his love of the symphony and opera but was cut off by the time limits as he started talking about something he did every time he went to Toronto.

Kennedy kept referring to skateboarding as an art form (he owns a skateboarding shop) and criticized the city for trying – poorly he said – to cover up grafitti rather than providing an outlet for grafitti artists.

But, the worst management of time and message came from Dyas.

Each candidate was given three minutes for a concluding statement but it had to be focused on the arts, inclusivity and/or diversity.

Dyas spent most of his time talking about his life before coming to Kelowna, starting a business here and loving the city. He had to be reminded by co-moderator Kent Molgat that he was supposed to be on topic.

Dyas wrapped up by talking about his love of the symphony and opera.


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