Coffee shop politicking is getting its chance to turn into coffee shop policy making.
On Tuesday night, Locke Street South’s Democracy Café will play host to the first meeting of the People’s Platform – a community-based think tank aimed at taking a proactive approach to electoral process. It aims to set policy for politicians to follow, instead of the other way around.
“We’re introducing a missing piece in the democracy puzzle…We want to focus on a positive approach,” said Norman Kearney, a spokesperson for the movement, which is an initiative of Hamilton Civic League.
“I use a business analogy. You wouldn’t hire someone to do the job if you hadn’t decided what the job to be.”
“This is just about helping manage the city more effectively by starting out that plan first.”
The group-think approach will use a small list of guest speakers followed by mini-forums to discuss and create a platform for candidates to adopt. Kearney says the engagement can be in person, but also online through and “ask and answer” section on the group’s website.
The only goal is civic engagement, said Kearney, who added the People’s Platform “cannot fail” if he can mobilize a few to get involved.
Confirmed attendees for Tuesday's meeting include Ward 1 candidates Sandy Shaw and Ira Rosen, 19-year-old Ward 9 candidate Cam Galindo and school board trustee candidate Chris Erl.
Kearney said questionnaires will be sent out to all candidates seeking their feedback, and more importantly, their stance on certain issues.
The forum begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Speakers for the kick-off include the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability and the Hamilton Organizing for Poverty Elimination.