It’s probably fair to say that last week’s mayoral candidacy announcement by local NDP MLA Leonard Krog is the unofficial launch of Campaign Season 2018. It’s also fair to assume that Mr. Krog’s entry into the race – whether you support him or not – will do two very valuable things. First, it will motivate a number of professional, competent, intelligent individuals to now run for Council. Second, it will likely lead a number of not-so-worthy individuals to reconsider running this fall. Let’s hope that latter list includes some of the incumbents.
As of this writing, we have also seen Laura McLeod, Sacia Burton, Rae Kornberger, Don Hubbard, Norm Smith and Fred Statham declare their candidacies for council or mayor. Mr. Krog’s entry has already led one mayoral candidate to switch his run to council, and it may lead others to move up their announcement dates – the increased level of media coverage Mr. Krog’s entry brings is good for all legitimate candidates.
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start your work as a voter. Direct your friends, neighbours, and family to the OurNanaimo website to access Tools for Voters and Essential Reference Material for Candidates. These resources will 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 ask tough questions. Don’t settle for easy answers or slick messaging. Politics is hard. Governance is hard. Getting this city back on track will be a monumental challenge. If candidates tell you they can lower your taxes without making tough choices, or they can fix our housing, homelessness, or opioid crises without working collaboratively with all levels of government, call them out. Nanaimoites deserve and need municipal leaders who will be our best and brightest. We do not need or deserve four more years of lies, creative accounting, or taxpayer-funded lawsuits as the automatic response to every issue.
Remember, OurNanaimo is beginning to compile a list of volunteers for September and October. Let us know if you’re interested in helping out. And of course, we’ve still got buttons! You can order them here and here. Let’s all pull together, and get ourselves some better governance, Nanaimo!
Don’t forget the Commercial Street Night Market that begins this Thursday, June 21, and runs for 11 weeks all summer. We hope to see you there!