Thursday, 13 March 2014

Not Too Early to Think Election

Campbell River Courier-Islander, Editorial, Feb. 14, 2014

It's election time again this year. This time around, it's a November date with the polls to select our next set of city councillors and school trustees.

Slowly but surely, names are being floated in the community as possible candidates for city council.
That makes sense, because council's decision affects us all, and stakes are high. However, we virtually hear nothing about potential school trustees.

Should we even have school trustees? We never seem to think about possible trustees, until just before voting day, anyway. That's a conversation for another day.

It's now February, leaving nine-and-a-half-months until the Nov. 15 decision day. It's getting to the point where, if a potential candidate's isn't lifting their hand up above the masses, they're in danger of being out of the race before it starts.

In what can amount to a popularity contest, with the most recognizable name becoming the landing spot for an 'X', time is of the essence. If you're thinking about running for council, or school board, you'd best be warming up and trial-ballooning intentions now.

Which brings us to the point: Why would you want to run for council or school board? What makes you think you'd serve the public well on either team? In our democracy, there are few prerequisites at all, which is both good and bad. If you want to run for council just because you want to, you can.

You don't need a lot of money, experience, or an impressive resume. That's probably a recipe for not getting elected, but go ahead and try. To that end, a conversation has been started called The Municipal Governance Project, headed by well-known politician Preston Manning.

They're trying to gather criteria that, hopefully, will produce a better-qualified list of candidates to govern our cities.

"One of our functions is to strengthen the knowledge and the skill level of these folks that want to run for elected office," Manning said recently in the Victoria Times Colonist.

This time, perhaps more than ever, we need to know who is running, why, and if they're up to the task.