Local elections are Oct. 15. Can you name all the candidates?
No, of course you can’t. That would be like trying to name all the stars in the sky.
Saanich has 22 people running for eight council seats. Victoria has 37, plus another eight vying to become mayor. Even Sooke has 26, giving it one of the highest candidate-to-traffic-light ratios in the entire capital region.
In fact, there are 202 candidates running for a spot on Dysfunction-By-The-Sea’s 13 municipal councils. Add those hoping to become school trustees or CRD directors and the total rises to 264.
To repeat: 264. Three more and Dr. Bonnie would have had to declare another epidemic. There were fewer people in your high school graduating class. The B.C. Lions draw smaller crowds.
Never mind. You might not know their names, but you know who’s running. As usual, your ballot will include:
• An Angry Red-Faced Candidate who wants to A) force the homeless to pay property taxes, B) ban pedestrians from Clover Point, C) tear up the bike lanes and D) what the hell, outlaw bicycles altogether. Still bitter about the metric system and bilingualism, this candidate drives around with a F*CK Trudeau sticker on the back of the gas-guzzler, but means Pierre, not Justin.
• An Angry Red-Faced Candidate who wants A) free homes for the homeless, B) free drugs for the drugless, C) the conversion of all golf courses into re-education camps for their bourgeois members, and D) a total ban on internal-combustion motors and gender-specific pronouns. This candidate will have no idea how big the municipal budget is.
• A Charming 18-Year-Old Community Activist (translation: student/busboy) wearing an ill-fitting suit that he appears to have borrowed from his dad for a job interview. He will continue to be charming until, having been elected, he votes to A) ban the sale of meat and B) adopt Valyrian as the municipality’s official language.
• A Grouchy 93-Year-Old Lifelong Resident (translation: got drunk on VE-Day) whose platform will consist of a single word: “POTHOLES!”
• At the other end of the spectrum, a Do-Everything Candidate who wants to extend local government’s reach to such non-traditional areas as subsidized housing, community health centres, bus passes for the poor, EV charging stations for the wealthy, a municipal interpretive dancer, Free Beer Fridays and another $5,000 ping pong table downtown. There will be no money for potholes, but average property taxes will rise to $48,000 a year.
• A Progressive who, in the name of inclusion, wants to ban the Bible from school libraries.
• A Traditionalist who wants to have all other books burned.
• A Community Activist (translation: hasn’t left UVic since 1991) who wants to defund the police. This candidate will be endorsed by the Hells Angels.
• A Voice For Change who vows to bust apart the status quo at city hall. Asked for a solution to the housing crisis, this candidate will reply: “I’m going to shake things up!” Transportation policy? Ditto. This will also be the reply when asked about capital financing, development cost charges, camping in parks, the replacement of crumbling sewer lines, the location of weed stores and the price of dog licences. Beyond breaking the furniture, this candidate has no idea what to do.
• A Preservationist who wishes to protect a neighbourhood’s “unique character.” Translation: no multi-family housing, no secondary suites, no non-resident street parking, no poor people. Armed checkpoints to keep local roads clear of commuters, tour buses and out-of-area cyclists. No pickleball within a five-kilometre radius. Tradesmen’s entrance at the rear, please.
• A Housing Advocate who, in the name of affordability, proposes replacing single-family homes with the kind of densely packed tower blocks that the British blew up in the 1980s. Affordable units will be the size of a garden shed, and will start at $1.8 million.
• A Recycled Politician who once sat on another elected body: the House of Commons, the New Brunswick legislature, Red Deer school board…. It’s like BritBox, where the same six actors appear in every show, eventually.
• A Retired Business Executive who A) misses being a person of influence, B) sucks at golf and C) is bored.
• Your Neighbours. Really, this is who is actually on your ballot. Ordinary people with ordinary problems who want to help build a better community. In an age when sticking your head up invites cynicism (see above) and a torrent of abuse on social media, it takes guts to step forward. Good for those who have chosen to do so. Now go figure out who they are.
> For more information on who's running, go to timescolonist.com/civic-election.