Sep. 10, 2018

This just does not pass the smell test

UPDATED 7:15 p.m., Sept. 10

0910 - The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and OurNanaimo are planning to jointly stage a pair of civic election events.

OurNanaimo is a special interest group which has been meeting and informally screening candidates for many months, all-the-while insisting they are not a party or an endorser. The very fact that they vetted or tutored people whom they deemed as worthy raises questions about them being a non-partisan group.

All candidates will have an opportunity to meet with voters Oct. 9 in a trade show-style format which will be followed by a moderated leadership debate with mayoral candidates. That’s an excellent idea, if conducted by the Chamber with no connection to any special interest.

On Oct. 15, small groups of candidates, who have been screened by OurNanaimo and the Chamber, will be invited on stage to participate in what Chamber CEO Kim Smythe described as a fishbowl forum.

This is very troubling. As unofficial as OurNanaimo has been insisting they are, are they now going to “screen” which candidates are worthy of participating in a mock council meeting scenario. After all, a number of the candidates were former member/participants in the OurNanimo movement.

If they deem any one or more candidates as unworthy to face the voters, how will they justify that? It's not their pre-campaign planning and helping to groom candidates – that's a laudible achievement. Controling the public forum by excluding some candidates who are not to their liking is what smells to high heaven. That makes it a partisan event.

Does anyone remember the election where the leader of one such group declared "we will elect the best city council that money can buy." Luckily, the voters didn't buy it.

Let us know your thoughts, your comments are welcome at


I have never heard of anything like this before. If a person is duly nominated and becomes a candidate then that candidate and all others should be invited to any candidates meetings. Sounds creepy and undemocratic to me. – Brian Peckford