Mission residents will choose a new mayor on April 24. / File Photo

COLUMN: I can’t wait for the Mission mayoral campaign to begin

As a journalist, nothing is more intriguing, or fun, than an election

While April, according to the old saying, brings showers and results in May flowers, I’m far more excited about what else April is bringing to Mission.

An election campaign.

As a journalist, nothing is more intriguing than an election. Sure federal and provincial elections get a lot more publicity with big promises of financial support and project funding. However, it is the municipal election that affects people the most.

Municipal governments impact your property taxes and your community’s overall look and health, far more than the other two forms of government.

In April, Mission gets to choose who the new mayor will be, thanks to the resignation of Pam Alexis who moved on to become an MLA. And at this point in time, before the campaign begins, it’s anyone’s guess who that mayor will be.

What we do know is that it won’t be a current councillor. None of the six remaining councillors decided to resign their positions for a chance at the top seat.

Jag Gill, Danny Plecas, Mark Davies, Ken Herar, Carol Hamilton and Cal Crawford will all remain in their seats, and like the rest of us, wait and watch.

That means someone new, or a returning veteran who has been out of politics for the past few years, will eventually take control of the district.

While the new mayor will only serve a short term, making an impression will be huge. It’s like an 18-month audition for the four-year term that will be up for grabs in October of 2022.

So I caution voters to choose carefully.

So far, three people have publicly announced their intentions to seek the mayor’s chair – Paul Horn, Cory Cassel and Rhett Nicholson – and I’m sure that more names will be added to that list as time ticks by.

While these three mayoral hopefuls have announced their intentions, the official nomination period begins on March 9 at 9 a.m. and ends on March 19 at 4 p.m. Then and only then will we know who is running.

That’s when the real fun begins.

Still the campaign has already begun, unofficially. Candidates have created Facebook pages so you can communicate with them and learn more about their views. Some campaign signs have even been erected – I have to admit, I thought it was too soon for signs, but a little research confirmed that it was perfectly legal to put up signs ahead of the campaign.

Another question that needs to be answered is what battleground this campaign will be fought on. Is it the sewer line across the Fraser River? Waterfront development? Support for people and businesses after Covid-19? Social issues? Business issues? Taxation? All of them? None of them?

It’s a blank canvas, waiting for the first political artist to pick up a brush and begin to paint.

I can only hope it will be a lively debate.

It would be nice to get a mayor that can provide stable leadership. In the past few years, Mission voters have developed a reputation for giving its mayor’s very little leeway.

There’s been a string of mayors recently – James Atebe was elected in 2008, Ted Adlem in 2011, Randy Hawes in 2014 and Pam Alexis in 2018.

Whoever wins the 2021 by-election will be Mission’s fifth different mayor in 13 years. That’s a lot of change to deal with.

There is still plenty to find out about the current and potential candidates. It’s time for the media to sit back, watch and report. If we and the public do our jobs, the right candidate will win, or at least survive.

General voting day will be April 24.

– Kevin Mills is the editor of the Mission Record

Mission City Record