Cambridge Chamber of Commerce releases shortened candidate interview videos

The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce has released its video interviews with candidates but has removed questions some candidates raised concerns about. The Chamber says it heard the concerns 'loud and clear.'

Chamber says they heard concerns about questions 'loud and clear'

Some Cambridge candidates asked the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce to not use their interviews for the Oct. 22 municipal election because they didn't agree with the line of questioning. (Carmen Ponciano/ CBC)

The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce has released its video interviews with municipal candidates, but has edited them to remove controversial questions.

In a statement on the website, the Chamber said they heard the concerns about the questions "loud and clear" but the main reason the videos were cut down was "the video interviews we conducted are simply too long. Most are in excess of 40 minutes each."

The Chamber came under fire last month after some candidates raised concerns over the questions they were being asked.

The questions included whether people believed in a supreme being and where they were born.

Ward 6 councillor candidate Sandy Falkiner wrote an open letter to the Chamber after her interview and asked them not to use it.

"I fail to understand how whether my family struggling financially when I was growing up, or how many times I have been married, or whether I believe in a supreme being, or whether I felt the Catholic church properly dealt with the abuse of children by priests, has anything to do with whether or not I can make sound judgments if elected as a councillor," she wrote.

"In hindsight, I regret allowing this form of interrogation to take place," she wrote.

Other politicians followed suit, including regional council candidates Jeffrey Shaver, John Florence and Rob Brunette and mayoral candidates Kathryn McGarry, Ben Tucci and Colin Tucker.

Jay Aissa was the only regional chair candidate not to take part in the interviews.

19 candidates not part of videos

There are 47 people running for various municipal seats in Cambridge including regional chair, regional council, mayor and councillor. 

Nineteen candidates in Cambridge are not part of the videos: 10 declined to be interviewed and eight asked for their taped interviews not to be shared. Tucker's mayoral video had audio problems and he was unavailable for a second interview, the Chamber said.

The Chamber has set up a municipal election section of its website with interviews from candidates who agreed to take part.

Each video is edited to about four or five minutes duration, each one focused on a question and how the candidates answered.

Regional chair candidates, for example, were given an opportunity to ask for people's votes and were asked three questions:

  • Why are you running?
  • What work have you done in the field of community service?
  • What do you envision as the most challenging aspect of this role?

The Chamber website notes whether candidates either declined to be interviewed or asked their interview not be shared.

The municipal election is Oct. 22.