Press Release – Centennial’s barring of candidate insult to democracy, says Ari Goldkind

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Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind reacted strongly today to the refusal made by the organizer of tonight’s debate to allow him to participate. Goldkind, who is currently polling as the fourth place candidate, has been active in several debates recently and has gained significant media and public attention for his policies, and his debating skills. His request to participate was flatly denied by the co-ordinator, Mr. Ted Barris who wrote the following:

“Thank you for your note. I have read and appreciate your argument for Ari Goldkind’s participation in the debate Monday night. However, I’m afraid I have to turn you/him down. I began this process of arranging this debate back in June (before the winter/spring semester broke for the summer). Having moderated a number of such debates over the years I have lectured/instructed at Centennial, I wanted to get the ball rolling early. I approached those candidates considered the front runners. At the time, I received five confirmations from the campaign offices of Rob Ford, Olivia Chow, John Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki. I went ahead with plans for venue, format and broadcast. As you know, the roster of candidates has fluctuated even over the last week, partly over the timing and over the roster itself. Consequently, in order to achieve (at least in part) the debate I intended at the outset, I will not alter the roster as to keep those remaining candidates in the debate/broadcast I outlined at the beginning. I appreciate your understanding…

Calling the denial an insult to the democratic process, Goldkind states that the reason for the existence of debates is for the voting public to get closer to the people they want to hear from, and ask questions before making an informed decision. “Any organization or person that chooses to censor this vital part of the democratic process is doing a disservice to Torontonians,” Goldkind says.  “I find this decision particularly troubling in that it comes from Mr. Barris himself, who in addition to being a professor of journalism – supposedly the bastion of free speech and information – would be expected to be attuned to the events of this dynamic campaign.

Goldkind states that the organizers’ claims that a roster that was set in June can no longer be altered, is hogwash. “On its face,” Goldkind states, “this response is ridiculous. By claiming an inability to host a platform that actually has a reduced number of participants from the five who were running at that time, Mr. Barris’ actions reflect poorly on the entire college, sending a message that as an institution focused on preparing students for employment in today’s marketplace, it itself is unprepared for the fast-changing and highly agile society in which we now live.”

Goldkind challenges Mr. Barris to re-read his employer’s mission statement, “educating students for career success,” and assess whether his inflexibility truly does justice to the college and its students.

To speak to Mr. Goldkind for comment: