Despite some criticism, the 103rd Wharf Street Debate Club Bun Feed went off on Monday, with plenty of laughs and lighthearted ribbing across the board.
Candidates running for spots on Belleville Council gave and received jabs about everything from their ages, to their campaign signs, to their political experience and more.
Garnett Thompson brought a griddle and two plates of breakfast up to the podium because as he said “there’s been so much controversy over this breakfast thing, that I thought I’d cook breakfast for everyone tonight, since everyone felt left out”.
He was referring to a series of regular breakfast dates involving himself and some other current councillors, which became the subject of a conflict of interest probe.
The subject of conflict of interest came up again when mayoral candidate Jodie Jenkins took a shot at incumbent mayor Taso Christopher saying “I heard Taso wasn’t going to be here because of a conflict. But seriously, I wanted to make a joke about him in a roundabout way.”
Christopher would counter by saying “Jodie has run more campaigns than Terry Fox” alluding to Jenkins’ failed runs for office at the municipal and provincial levels.
The other mayoral candidates did not attend, with Mitch Panciuk having a scheduling conflict and Egerton Boyce deciding not to participate because he felt the event fostered a spirit of bullying.
Tyler Allsopp, a 26-year-old Ward One candidate took part in his second bun feed and was named “King of the Wharf” by those in attendance.
He tells Quinte News, even with the event’s reputation, he feels it does have some benefits to candidates to take part.
Ryan Williams also had comments about pretty well all of the candidates and singled out Paul Martin, who has hosted close to 50 coffee chat events over the course of the campaign saying “that’s a lot of work for 17 votes”.
Martin’s biggest laugh came when he said that “to run a successful campaign you need to know how to budget $15,000 to $20,000, which to Ryan Williams, is a night out at the Shorelines”.
There were plenty of other jabs traded over the course of the night, many of which can’t be printed due to the nature of their language, but organizer Steve Halloran told media after the event that the controversy around the bun feed may have added some more interest and as is always the case, it was all in good fun.
Money raised from ticket sales is being donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.