Sophie Verrier surveys the literature of candidates running in the 2018 municipal election Sunday during a breakfast hosted by Saanich Neighbourhood Place. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich Neighbourhood Place serves up some politics with their pancakes

Local family resource and support centre aims to educate voters and politicians

A local non-profit group combined politics and pancakes early Sunday morning to educate families about municipal politics and vice versa.

Candidates running in the Oct. 20 municipal election mingled with voters over coffee and breakfast favourites at Saanich Neighbourhood Place for a different kind of all-candidates meeting just six days from the election.

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Holding coffee cups and carrying plates filled with food, candidates broke bread with each other and voters in the offices of the non-profit organization that serves as a resource and support service for local families.

For some candidates, it was their ninth public appearance, with one more all-candidates’ forum scheduled for Tuesday. But Sunday’s event differed from previous ones in many ways.

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Colleen Hobson, executive director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place, said the event had two purposes.

“One, we want candidates to be more informed about what is going with young families,” Hobson said. “The other thing is we want young families to understand the importance of municipal in their everyday lives.”

So why did Neighbourhood Place simply not follow a more traditional format? Hobson said it had to be informal. “You have to bring them [families] food to get them into the door,” she said, adding some candidates were really looking forward to meeting voters in a more informal setting.

RELATED: Councillor brews up political coffee chats with his rivals

This setting is precisely what appealed to Sophie Verrier, one of more than 200 would-be voters, who came with her husband and two children, and said did so because she wanted to meet candidates in person.

“I have young kids, and they are making important decisions for us on our behalf,” she said, adding she has been trying to follow the election campaign as best as she can through traditional and social media.

“But we want to meet them directly as well,” she said, of the candidates. “You can get a better sense what kind of person they are, how much commitment they will be putting towards this.”

In fact, Sunday’s event was the first all-candidates event that she has been able to attend in person.

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