Thank you for promoting the recent by-election in the Campbell River Mirror.
It was helpful to know who was running and what each brought to the table in terms of ideas and experience. Some people, however, have expressed concern at the very low public turnout. Some were unhappy with the preferential treatment of one candidate by some councillors. While by-elections are said to have lower turnout than regular elections, I think it is profitable to reflect on this by-election and future elections.
Of course, the low turnout could be related to the COVID-19 reality. Some may have feared going out to a public place and not realized they could vote by mail. Many others may have had personal and economic concerns that precluded interest in civic matters or civic responsibility. Also, many may feel that the current leadership is doing a good job and were not motivated to involve themselves in anything that might produce a change.
Some others are concerned about the action of council members who very publicly joined together to present their support for one candidate. So I want to ask, is this a usual or acceptable practice? Is it legal or fair to express preferential support as a current council? Is it fair to ask the council WHY they chose this particular candidate? I think we should clear the air about this.
It might be valuable to consider who did not join the council this time. Youth, women and the arts are not going to have a stronger presence. While it was very exciting to see so many want to become involved, I also hope that there could be a significant representation from the aboriginal segments of our community, if they are open and willing to participate. They are economically progressive and powerful, the largest landowners in our community and a growing percentage of our population.
In the future, I would like to see increasing diversity in age, gender, interests and ethnicity. As our mayor said, we are not that far from another election. For those who are from groups that may be underrepresented, it is time to think and plan.
Thanks again for your excellent coverage, Mirror professionals.