Coun. Colin Plant, second from the right, has organized a series of daily coffee chats until the Oct. 20 during he and other candidates for council are meeting with voters. This picture shows him with candidates Nathalie Chambers (second from left), Trevor Barry (third from left), Zac de Vries (middle, next to Barry) and Coun. Judy Brownoff (first from right) during a meeting last week at Cherries Breakfast Bistro. Submitted.

Councillor brews up political coffee chats with his rivals

Coun. Colin Plant is hosting a series of daily coffee chats that include his competitors

An incumbent Saanich councillor is putting a new spin on the old political coffee klatsch, one that sees him willingly share the spotlight with his rivals.

Coun. Colin Plant has been meeting with voters every morning in October since the start of the campaign at another Saanich coffee shop, with last such meeting scheduled for Oct. 19 — one day before Oct. 20 municipal election. That itself is not unusual. But what distinguishes this coffee chat tour is Plant’s willingness to bring along a different group of competitors each time out.

RELATED: Who’s running for Saanich mayor and council? Check here

“As a candidate during the campaign I want to meet as many residents as I can and door-knocking in the morning before my day teaching high school is not an option,” he said. “I also found that the formats and abundance of candidates at the all-candidate meetings made it hard to get my message out to the public as to why I was running for [council and the Capital Regional District] and I thought ‘why not meet over a cup of coffee’ in a different part of Saanich each morning in October.”

The experience so far has been positive, he said. Conversations with the other candidates and the public go beyond soundbites and offer opportunities for follow up, he said. “Also, we are not trying to outdo each other. It’s been positive politics and one where the conversations have been respectful and about learning from each other and hearing the public’s ideas. When you have 2 hours, everyone gets to speak and everyone gets to listen and ask questions. The format is not formal. It’s a coffee chat.”

So far 12 out of 17 candidates for councillor have taken him up on the offer. “I did not invite the mayor candidates as I did not want the chats to devolve into a leadership debate and about the mayor choice,” he said. “I also felt that the [mayoral candidates] are getting quite a lot of coverage and this would be a way for the public to get to know their candidates better.”

RELATED: Saanich mayoral candidates clash over leadership

Plant said the tour is about showing that politicians need to continually seek input from residents by reaching out to them. Showing up at all-candidates meetings to answer questions is not enough, he said. “By going to where people are, you can find out what matters to them. It also sends the message that I can bring people together, can work with everyone and want to be someone who listens and then acts.”

In fact, Plant plans to make it habit. “If re-elected I’m going to do this once a month,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read