After initially saying he could not be in attendance at a mayoral debate scheduled for this evening due to Diwali celebrations, Mayor Bruce Banman will now attend the event for one hour.
The mayoral debate was organized by eight local non-profits: Abbotsford Community Services, the United Way of the Fraser Valley, the Abbotsford Community Foundation, the Abbotsford Arts Council, The Reach, MSA Museum, the Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley and the Fraser Valley Conservancy.
It will be held at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
There are two candidates in the running for mayor, incumbent Banman and Coun. Henry Braun.
Banman posted on his Facebook page yesterday that he thanked ACS for the invitation, but “unfortunately, this event is scheduled at the same time as one of the most important dates on the Sikh and Hindu calendar…”
Banman wrote that he was committed to numerous Diwali celebrations in the city.
Banman later posted that he apologized for the confusion, stating that he would be attending the debate from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. “between the Diwali celebrations happening in our community.”
A statement of clarification was issued by Justin P. Goodrich, moderator of the event, which will be available at the meeting.
It states that the date was chosen with the organizing committee based on availability of the venue, no conflicts with other all-candidates events and no conflicts with any publicly advertised community events.
It states that email notification was sent to the candidates on Sept. 26 and again to Banman’s campaign manager on Oct. 15.
The event will begin as scheduled at 7 p.m. and will continue with a discussion with Braun until 8 p.m.
There will be a question and answer period from 8:10 to 9:25 p.m.