Progressive candidates eye co-operation

Municipal elections in the capital are ugly, vicious, hydra-like monsters.

Municipal elections in the capital are ugly, vicious, hydra-like monsters. With 13 municipalities, three school districts, three electoral districts, and the CRD, my rough math gives us around 150 politicians running for office every three years.

New candidates have to meet and make nice with 150 people in a couple of months in the hopes of sidestepping border skirmishes and greasing the wheels of regional government, which can be hard to wrap your head around when you’re new to the game. That’s why Dogwood Initiative, the Community Social Planning Council, and Community Micro Lending decided to organize last week’s Regional Sustainability Coffee House.

“Regionally, I think everyone has an interest in seeing progressive councillors succeed in the municipal election,” explained Dogwood’s Gordon O’Connor.

For the organizers, the event was an opportunity to encourage progressive municipal candidates to co-operate across the CRD and, ultimately, help each other get elected. The night focussed on five points: promoting sustainable livelihoods, food security, affordable housing, poverty reduction and energy/transit.

At first blush, this sort of meeting would (and should) inspire panic in anyone not willing to associate the words “progressive” and “party line.” With whispers of a slate forming in opposition to the already solidified Dean Team, a meeting of progressive candidates conjures up flashbacks to the bad old days of No Slate? No Votes!

Sitting in a room full of politicians representing, well, admittedly only about 65 per cent of the political spectrum (the far right was strangely absent), my initial worry gave way to a curiosity, which unfortunately remains unsatisfied.

According to event organizers and several candidates, the night was a complete success. But that success is where the dissatisfaction part comes in.

See, it’s no big deal when two average folks get together and talk politics; when politicians do the same, the tendency is to assume even passing words will have their consequences in public life. With no indication as yet of where, if anywhere, this meeting will take politics in our sleepy little town, we are left with only vicious speculation to occupy our time until November. M

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