EDITORIAL – Things we learned from the Kamloops by-election

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SO, WHAT did we learn from the by-election?

Well, for one thing, even though the turnout was diaphanously better than most of us predicted, it was still pitiful. Nobody should be pleased with a 21 per cent turnout.

Ken Christian’s vote total of a little over 9,200 was the lowest received by a winning mayoral candidate in 20 years, despite the fact the population of Kamloops has increased by 15,000 during that time.

Christian was elected by 13 per cent of the current eligible voters. That’s not fair to him, or to the community. Still, he was a clear winner.

We also learned that Kamloops isn’t exactly embracing a youth movement in its civic political scene. Even though there were a number of bright young candidates both for mayor and for council, they all finished well down in the rankings.

The election of Kathy Sinclair maintains the gender ratio on council but men still outnumber women by two to one. It might be time for Kamloops to work on that.

We also learned that relying too heavily on social media doesn’t guarantee success. Candidates who checked all the boxes of effective campaigning, including mainstream-media advertising, did well.

And even if you have years of previous experience in other levels of government, if you don’t campaign hard enough, you don’t get elected.

As to the kind of leadership Ken Christian will bring to City Hall, well, he ran a safe, low-key campaign. He’ll probably approach the mayoralty in the same way, maintaining an even keel and conservative style emphasizing careful administration, and the newly constituted council is almost certain to follow the same path in the run-up to October 2018.

This past weekend, Kamloopsians elected three able, proven people they know, and the winners deserve our congratulations.

So, steady as she goes. If we learned one thing from this by-election about what might happen in 2018, it’s that Kamloops voters — certainly those who showed up — aren’t ready for big changes.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Armchair Mayor and CFJC-TV expand partnership

I’m pleased to announce that beginning Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, Armchair Mayor editorials will appear twice daily on CFJC-TV Mondays through Thursdays — during the Midday program as well as during the CFJC Evening News.

The weekly Armchair Mayor column will continue to be published on CFJC Today website Saturdays. (James Peters’ editorials continue on CFJC-TV on Fridays.)

Armchair Mayor columns and editorials will also continue to be published here at

About Mel Rothenburger (9230 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Things we learned from the Kamloops by-election

  1. If there is anything like having a weak mandate on city council this is it.I think that all who were just elected should keep their heads down until the population gets to know them or the next election will be a farce.I’m not sure that this one wasn’t .In most meetings of a certain size a quorum is mandated by the by laws of that society.There should be some level of voter non participation that triggers a “non Election”.This one was certainly close to that condition.
    Congratulations to those who did win and thank you Kevan for not winning.
    Whats next for council and how do they defend this mandate?

  2. For better or for worse, name recognition is where we are at…and for worse (in my opinion) that will not change anytime soon, or at least before the next election just a year away!

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