Jul. 15, 2022

Election rules are now in effect for October vote

We’re three months from the October municipal election and campaigning should ramp up pretty soon for city council and school board candidates.

The official pre-campaign period for the elections begins Monday, and runs until September 16. There are two periods – pre-campaign and campaign. Election advertising rules come into effect with the start of the pre-campaign period. Another level of rules are also in effect during the campaign period, from September 17 until election day on October 15.

Elections BC administers campaign financing and advertising rules in local elections, but does not administer voting, candidate nominations, or other aspects of the process.

It’s been quiet on the election front until now, nothing but crickets. Whatever councillors and trustees do between now and the election is a form of unofficial politicking. It’s the newcomers who have to get their message out to the voters.

I contacted all council members recently to get a reading of their intention to run again or drop out. Though nobody has made it official, it would not be a surprise to see at least seven of the councillors seeking re-election. Coun. Jim Turley has indicated he will not run.

The steady hand at the top, in the mayor’s chair, has given us four years respite from the turmoil the previous gang was notorious for.

What will be most interesting is who and how many newcomers will try to win a seat. Our past history has been 20 to 30 candidates and more for city council in recent decades. The big question is what they can bring to the table offering a better choice than the incumbents. 

Some names are floating around coffee row, but most of them lack name recognition. That’s what elections are all about, being known by the voting public. Crowded ballots with many names raise election interest, and therefore hopefully greater voter turnout. Elections without contentious issues usually have lower voter turnouts, and that is not a good thing.

Things have been pretty quiet from the council chamber. What we hear most from the public is the property tax increases fueled by unbalanced housing price increases. Some have been paying way above average, and they want to know why.

Another big concern is homelessness. There are too many people with no place to live other than a tent or a simple tarp in a park or other treed properties. Council is getting the flak even though it is the responsibility of the provincial government. Regardless of what the province has done, it’s never enough. But it is an issue for the election.

Climate has been top of mind for some councillors, waving around mantras like “crisis.” That has led to costly redesign of infrastructure to cater to non-fossil-fuel byways and highways. More spending on street redesign and bicycle trails requires more money – translation, higher taxes. The Metral drive rebuild is a perfect example of concept over functionality. 

Our population is aging, and I know from personal experience that old bones are not meant to be tortured on bicycles. Streets and roads have one purposes, to move traffic. Traffic “calming” is a contradiction.

I’m developing an election page on this website on Nanaimonet.com – open to all candidates. Watch for details coming soon. I would like to hear from any prospective candidates so they can get the word out. If voters don’t know you they likely won’t vote for you. Contact me by email at merv@nanaimonet.com.

See the details at Elections B.C.