THEY CLOSED THE NOMINATIONS for B.C.’s local elections Sept. 14, and not a moment too soon. By my count, there are 179 people standing for municipal government in the capital region, three shy of an epidemic.
The final credits of Lord of The Rings weren’t that long. The Arizona Coyotes draw smaller crowds.
Elections used to fall in mid-November, but then some bright spark finally realized there’s more to B.C. than Victoria and Vancouver and the people in The Land Beyond Hope would appreciate trekking to the polls when the snow isn’t at eyebrow height.
The change is good, but still leaves less time for voters to become familiar with the candidates.
Never mind. You might not know their names, but you know who’s running. They’re the same people who always run.
There will be:
• A Fresh Voice For Change who wants to blow up city hall because everyone there is corrupt/lazy/thick as a brick. Ask what this candidate will do about affordable housing, the reply will be: “I’m going to shake things up.” This will also be the reply to questions about transportation, aging infrastructure, capital financing, development cost charges, cannabis zoning and dog licences. You can be pretty sure this candidate had a relationship with Stormy Daniels/Vladimir Putin.
• A Business Representative advocating “responsible growth” and “an expanded tax base to improve our quality of life.” It will later emerge that this candidate was backed by ConCo Inc., a for-profit operator of U.S. prisons that has its eyes on Beacon Hill Park.
• A Preservationist who wishes to protect the municipality’s “unique character.” Translation: no multi-family housing, no poor people, no road use by commuters, sightseers or non-resident cyclists. Tradespeople may use the service entrance at the back.
• A Recycled Politician who was once part of a different elected body: school board, legislature, Parliament, regional board … . It’s like the Canadian Football League, where every quarterback plays for every team, eventually.
• An Angry Red-Faced Man who advocates not only no tax increase, but no taxes, period. He wants to repeal gay marriage, the metric system, bilingualism, bike lanes, bikes and, what the hell, the French. Wants to send Indigenous people back where they come from. Wants Doug Ford to invoke the notwithstanding clause to ban all Trudeaus.
• An Angry Red-Faced Man who will demand free homes for the homeless, free drugs for the drugless, the conversion of all bourgeois golf courses into re-education camps for their members, and a total ban on internal-combustion motors and gender-specific pronouns. He will have absolutely no idea how much ordinary people — the cannon fodder in his class war — pay in property taxes.
• A Concerned Mother motivated by the government’s decision to axe school music programs/drain the pool/turn her local park into a tent city, complete with a safe-injection site under the jungle gym. “Our children are our future of tomorrow today,” she will say. Someone will then point out that Greater Victoria has the lowest percentage of children of any city in Canada.
• A Pro-Amalgamation Woman will ask residents of Esquimalt or View Royal or Oak Bay whether they think it would be OK to possibly start thinking about potentially studying the benefits and drawbacks of merging with neighbouring municipalities. She will then be burned at the stake as a witch.
• A Retired Business Executive with too much time on his hands, particularly now that his wife has left him for trying to boss her around the way he did his corporate underlings. If not elected to local office, he will become president of his condo’s strata council, where he will A) insist on replacing the roof every three years and B) chalk the tires in the visitors’ parking spots.
In addition to all these, there will be a subset of candidates running for school board:
• A selection of Retired Teachers who, after 40 years under the whip with the bit in their teeth, are looking forward to seizing the reins.
• A Recently Graduated Student, looking to use the (spring) board to launch a political career/get revenge on her old Biology 11 teacher.
• The Angry Parents of a child whose teacher laughed when the kid was hit in the nuts by a soccer ball. When challenged on policy, the parents will accuse their questioners of “bullying.”
• Not running will be a Small Business Owner. They all lost interest once school trustees lost the ability to raise property taxes or negotiate big labour contracts.
Actually, nobody’s quite sure what school boards do anymore. Maybe something to do with earthquake preparedness.
• Also not running will be a woman who intended to run on a fix-the-Malahat platform, but who failed to file her nomination papers in time, having been caught behind a rock slide in Goldstream Park.
Jack Knox is a born-and-raised Kamloopsian who once worked at the Kamloops Daily News. He is now a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist. Since joining the Times Colonist in 1988, Jack has worked as a copy editor, city editor, editorial writer and editorial page editor. Prior to that he was an editor and reporter at newspapers in Campbell River, Regina and Kamloops. He won the Jack Webster Foundation’s City Mike Award for Commentator of the Year in 2015.