"I'm a softball coach/volunteer/parent/voter": While I am a little upset that Fred Armstrong didn't choose me to be one of the seven people featured in ads in locals papers to promote the "Be A Voter" campaign, I think it's an admirable effort by the municipality to increase voter turnout.
Having said that, I also think it will be futile and will see, at most, a five per cent increase from the abysmally low 29 per cent that turned out for the last election.
Fred is the communications manager for the municipality. "Be A Voter" is his baby to nurse in the effort to get folks interested in municipal politics, which is a sad reality, because municipal politics is the one that most impacts your daily lives with such things as the construction of houses, the flow of water, the maintenance of streets, all those items we call infrastructure.
But it often seems that the only time people take an interest is when their lives are being affected in some adverse way. Then they're off to council, where there's lots of seating, to bitch and scream; and rightly so, especially for them that vote and earn the right to complain.
It ain't hard people: you read the local papers, maybe go to an all-candidates debate, talk to your friends, do a little research.
Or just vote for the guy or gal that you know, judging them to possess the right stuff to make the right decisions - which, you might assume, would mean that the incumbents have a better chance at re-election. Turns out that in the last five elections, not one mayor has earned a second term.
And look at the wide range of choices you have: aging war horse Sandy Macdougall, who first served on council in the 80's, is probably the oldest candidate in the field; while at the other end of the age spectrum we have 18year-old Kiersten Duncan, the youth candidate who could be a shoo-in, if she gets out enough young voters - which will be a lot harder than it sounds, considering their sense of powerlessness, their apathy, their heavy social schedules. Probably good to have someone not burdened by age and experience, and if Carly O'Rourke's seventh place finish last time out is any indication, maybe we're anxious for new blood. (Carly is back, by the way.)
Lots of old blood in the race, with Al Hogarth and former councillor and MLA Ken Stewart, Candace Gordon, and Craig Speirs. Claus Andrup is giving it another shot, along with my chiropractor Doc Masse, Pastor Bob Goos, Grover Telford (there's a good political name!), and John Mackenzie who can't seem to make up his mind (last word, he's on again) because of the cost.
I can relate to that: people have told me I should run because I'm an "opinionated, arrogant, condescending bully." (This from my fan mail. This guy could run my campaign!)
Besides the fact that I'm a bit lazy and couldn't afford much beyond a felt pen and some poster board, I probably wouldn't have a chance against some of these heavy hitters. If elected, I'd want to immediately place a moratorium on all development outside the downtown core, shut down several of the downtown streets to cars, put bike lanes everywhere, and ban smoking and cell phones from all public places.
And I'd certainly know better than to run against good old Ernie Daykin whose family has been here since Tommy Haney was in breeches.
I say this with all due respect to Craig Ruthven the "Shopping Guy" who is moving up a few weight divisions to take on the current champ.
Sounds like a fight you don't want to miss.
November 19, at a polling station near you.