Welcome to the three-ring circus.
Victoria’s first civic all-candidates meeting turned into a free-for-all Thursday.
The meeting was jolted with spontaneous outbursts, and, yes, there was even a clown. Changes the Clown (Rob Duncan) showed up at the meeting in a clown outfit and a red nose.
Twenty-four candidates running for council and mayor took part in the meeting that debated issues on homelessness, housing and poverty at the Downtown Community Centre, sponsored by three social services agencies: Victoria Cool Aid Society, Our Place Society and Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
CBC’s Gregor Craigie was a perfect ringmaster (um, moderator) as he attempted to keep calm among the candidates and audience and keep the debate respectful.
Each candidate was given 30 seconds to introduce themselves, followed by a question and answer period.
It took about 30 minutes before the jabs started when mayoral candidate Riga Godron was making comments toward fellow mayoral candidate Stephen Andrew.
Andrew, on more than one occasion, called her behavior “offensive.”
But that was just the start.
About one hour into the meeting, mayoral candidate David Shebib, who is running in all 13 municipalities in the south Island, stormed out the meeting.
“I’d like to say one thing before I leave. I think this is complete crazy,” he said.
“If you think this process is going to settle anything, you all have lost it. There is no sense here at all.”
Catcalls from the audience prompted Godron to start yelling about homelessness and sleeping in cars.
Craigie urged everyone to calm down.
“Let’s respect what other people have to say,” Craigie said.
The civic election is Nov. 15.