Holding city hall accountable for good governance


Better city planning


Getting ready for Election 2018

Welcome to OurNanaimo.

June 2018

Almost exactly three months from today, the municipal election campaign will be in full swing. While summer will likely be a quiet period for politics in our city, May saw several dramatic events that will impact the October 20 vote.

In early May, a scathing KPMG audit of the City’s 2017 finances found “serious deficiencies”, “questionable activities”, and “retaliation” against City staff who complained to Council of the financial wrongdoing of City Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra and City Chief Financial Officer Victor Mema. The whole report can be read beginning at page 50 of this Finance and Audit Committee Agenda.

On May 14, Victor Mema was finally fired with cause by Council, many months after other city employees complained about his fraudulent use of a corporate credit card. Just days later – in what appears to have been a desperate and vain attempt to shift blame from suspended Tracy Samra wholly onto Mema’s back – Councillor Gord Fuller’s brother Robert openly leaked a confidential KPMG forensic audit (a different audit than the one cited in the previous paragraph).

Finally, over four months after being arrested and going on “leave”, the City announced that Samra is “no longer employed”. The Bestwick-led Council majority had previously voted to delay her firing, and her court date has now been delayed four times. Nanaimo taxpayers deserve to know what it cost the City to resolve this disastrous employment situation, beyond the $60,000 in pay she collected since her arrest on January 31.

Luckily, the embarrassing and expensive drama emanating from City Hall is offset by the hard work of Nanaimoites to rescue this sinking ship on October 20. The Speakers’ Series on Civic Leadership, which was organized by OurNanaimo, the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Vancouver Island, was a great success. Hopefully, some of the best and brightest among the 45 attendees will be on the ballot in the fall. The turnout and level of discourse at the series augurs well for the future.

But to pick out the diamonds from the coal in October, we need tools. Visit the OurNanaimo website to access Tools for Voters and Essential Reference Material for Candidates. These resources can help guide voters on what is important to look for and questions to ask candidates during the campaign. A detailed self-assessment tool for candidates is now also available. All potential candidates are encouraged to undertake this exercise. It is also a useful tool for voters to use in assessing and asking questions of candidates.

And don’t forget our buttons! You can order them here and here, where they are sold for a modest fee that will contribute to more initiatives to raise awareness about voting as the election approaches. Many of our supporters are now sporting them. We also have OurNanaimo business cards, free if you contact us.

Special Note: OurNanaimo is beginning to compile a list of volunteers for the election period in September and October. Let us know if you’re interested in helping out.

Have a great June. Don’t miss the Commercial Street Night Market that begins Thursday, June 21, and runs for 11 weeks all summer. We live in an amazing city, so we hope you can get out and enjoy everything it has to offer.


OurNanaimo is a grassroots, non-partisan group of citizens with members from a cross-section of Nanaimo, including working families, students, business owners, young professionals and retirees. OurNanaimo is focused on effecting positive change at the municipal level and committed to building a vibrant, strong and healthy city.
OurNanaimo believes that our city deserves not just better, but the very best governance. The job of a city councillor is challenging and requires a high degree of skill, knowledge and competencies, in addition to being committed to building a better city and serving the public interest.  Councillors have the potential to impact both individual citizens and the reputation and success of our city as a whole.  To support the objective of better governance, OurNanaimo is focusing on approaches that contribute to a positive outcome in the October 20, 2018 local general election. This includes increasing voter engagement, creating tools for voters, promoting the attributes of an effective councillor, and getting out the vote.
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Municipal Elections

OurNanaimo believes that our city deserves not just better, but the very best governance. The job of a city councillor is challenging and requires a high degree of skill, knowledge and competencies.

Learn more


Finally, a group of community members who want accountability (what a novel thought) from our elected officials. How do I get involved...do you have a regular meeting that I could attend? My wife and I moved here in 2004 and have watched this beautiful little community blossom into a vibrant small city. Unfortunately, the strategic planning and accountability of our city, regional district (including Port Authority) leave much to the imagination.


I just wanted to extend my congratulations on forming the Our Nanaimo group. What I was most impressed by is the thoughtful questions you are putting forth to the by-election candidates. If they do nothing else, it is my hope that each candidate takes the time to think these questions through and at least be clear with themselves as to why they wish to be elected. Although sorely needed, I am sadden though that a group of Nanaimoites have felt compelled to create this group. But am thankful that we live in a society that embraces the right to do so. Thank you, I look forward to the candidates responses.


You've got my interest. Keep me informed!

Community Member

Thank you Kathryn for your candidates assessments & to all who are involved here, helping our democracy. With Regards.

Thank you

Just wanted to say that as a former Nanaimoite and someone who's following the by-election, I found your list of questions very engaging, meaningful and probing. Well done.