Voters can cast ballots as early as Wednesday, Oct. 5 in the 2022 local government elections. Complete voting info below
This list of candidates is anything but ‘mainstream;’ why running ‘out of town’ feels icky
For the last six years, readers have known us as Decafnation.net. As of last Friday, we moved to a new Internet address, Decafnation.ca. We went from ‘net’ to ‘ca’ and we also moved our business to a local web design firm, Milan Web.
A VERY TELLING LIST
Stop the presses! The Comox Valley Mainstream group – we hesitate to use that word ‘group’ because we think CVM is just Dick Clancy, Murray Presley and a couple of other guys – gave us their list of endorsed candidates over the weekend.
Has your whole family been holding their collective breath and sitting on the edge of their seats with their legs and arms and fingers double crossed waiting for this announcement? No? Neither were we.
But, this list. “Toto, I’ve got the feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Dick and the boys have endorsed a climate change denier (Tamara Meggitt), at least four candidates running in jurisdictions where they don’t live (Peter Gibson, Richard Hardy, Mano Theos and Phil Adams), one apparently running on a personal grudge (Richard Hardy), one taking credit on his campaign brochure (Ken Grant) for something he opposed and voted against, one person (Steve Blacklock) recently fined by Elections BC for a campaign violation and one person (Matthew Ellis) who says on his campaign page that local governments need to prepare for a global economic collapse.
According to Dick and the boys, these are the Comox Valley’s best and brightest, which tells you a lot about Dick.
But it doesn’t tell you anything about why they endorsed these particular candidates. They say nothing about why this collection of political wannbes would be better than the wannastay incumbents (Grant and Theos are incumbents). Not one word of justification for their endorsements.
Instead, Dick and the boys say, “Trust us. Don’t ask questions.”
Surprised? Surely you didn’t expect more from a bunch that won’t even reveal who they are? Dick and Murray won’t ever say why they endorsed these specific candidates because, if they did, you’d probably run for a cave in the hills.
EVEN THE RIGHT DROPS BRENNAN DAY
But we were curious that Dick’s boys left perennial candidate Brennan Day off their list. We thought he’d be one of their ‘Stars’ for Courtenay council, especially because Day doesn’t live in Courtenay. CVM seems to really like those carpet-baggers this year.
It’s a stretch to think Day isn’t right-wing and pro-development enough for them. He’s probably memorizing Poilievre’s speeches right now. No, it must be some other reason.
Maybe it’s because Day has gone 0-2 in his desperate desire to get elected to something and they didn’t want to back somebody who might go 0-3. Maybe it’s because Day pulled a boner move by using Courtenay and BC logos on some signs and then made himself look stupid while trying to shrug off his boo-boo.
Or, maybe it’s reverse psychology and they really do want Day to get elected, but they figured getting Dick’s nod might sour his chances, so they trotted out this lot instead.
Well, it doesn’t matter. Day won’t be on Decafnation’s list of preferred candidates either. But at least we’ll tell you why when we publish our list of endorsements this week.
IT’S A BAD IDEA TO ‘RUN OUT OF TOWN’
There’s something funny going on this local election year, even beyond the lies and misinformation spread by the Take Back Comox Valley conspiracy theorists.
By the way, it appears quite likely that these same anonymous people are now making, or paying some service to make negative campaign phone calls. These are not calls to support a candidate or extol her virtues. No they are telling lies to attack the candidates they don’t like, mostly incumbents.
The main lie they tell is that progressive candidates are taking money from the Dogwood Initiative, a citizen action network. But it’s not true.
Anyone can search the incumbent’s 2018 financial disclosure statements on the Internet and see exactly who gave money to each of them. You won’t find Dogwood. When this election is over, you’ll have access to the 2022 statements, too.
It’s all there in the public domain. Very transparent.
An alert reader who received one of these calls took a photo of her phone and recorded the number (778-743-2319). When our reader tried to call it back, it went immediately to voicemail. Dirty tricks by faceless people.
Anyway, we digress. The funny thing going on this year is that so many candidates are running for council positions in communities where they don’t live. We normally see this in provincial and federal elections when a party will parachute in a candidate to a riding where they aren’t strong.
Stewart Prest, a political scientist at Quest University, told the Vancouver Sun that this is “not as common at the municipal level because of the emphasis on being close to a community and being able to speak on its issues.”
In other words, if you really cared about a place, you would live there.
But that doesn’t seem to bother Mano Theos, who has lived in Nanaimo for a good chunk of his last term on Courtenay council and plans to continue living there with his fiance. Nor does it seem to bother these other candidates:
Phil Adams: lives in Fanny Bay, running in Courtenay.
Richard Hardy: lives in Comox, running in Area B.
Brennan Day: lives in Area B, running in Courtenay.
Peter Gibson: lives in Area C, running in Comox.
Lyndsey Northcott: lives in Royston, running in Courtenay.
A Decafnation reader who used to be a Chief Administrative Officer of a BC municipality told us that there are many reasons candidates would ‘run out of town,’ so to speak.
“Some might need the money, not that council positions pay all that well. And they see an opening even though it’s somewhere else.”
“Or, sometimes non-residential candidates are backed/supported by locals who want specific issues supported by council and need an advocate “on the inside” to help make this happen. This is a regular ploy used by developers in years past.”
The idea that candidates might be backed by special interests – tipoff: big signs – and will listen to them rather than the people who actually live in the community sounds icky. But that may be why Gibson is running in Comox. We wouldn’t know, of course, because Gibson won’t answer our emails.
Whatever the reason, there is nothing illegitimate about running out of town. It’s just that the idea of a carpet-bagger taking advantage of a political opportunity feels unethical, and in most cases doesn’t provide good governance.
The practice is just a bad idea all around. The province should change the election laws to restrict running out of town to specific, rare circumstances; for example, in larger communities where the boundaries between one jurisdiction and another are blurred.
NONE OF OUR BUSINESS?
Decafnation reached out to several of the candidates running ‘out of town.’ We asked them to explain why they weren’t running where they live.
Mano Theos was the only one to respond. He said he hoped to go back to his long-time restaurant job in Courtenay. But when we followed up and asked when he would be working here, and where and how often he would be in Courtenay, Theos said it was none of our business. “This is my private life,” he said.
But knowing how much time a candidate has to spend on council work and how often he’ll actually set foot in the community he pretends to represent are perfectly legitimate questions to ask. And voters should ask them at every opportunity.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 15 for all local government positions.
Comox Valley Regional District
General Voting Day and advance voting take place at the CVRD building in Courtenay from 8 am to 8 pm.
Go to this link for General Voting Day locations in the three Electoral Areas.
Additional voting takes place on Oct. 6 from 9 am to 12 pm on Denman Island and on Oct. 6 from 2 pm to 5 pm on Hornby Island
Advance Voting begins on Wednesday October 5, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Native Sons Hall, and again on Wednesday October 12, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre.
General Voting Day, Saturday, October 15, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Queneesh Elementary School, and at the Florence Filberg Centre.
Advance voting begins Wednesday, October 5 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre, and on Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and again on Monday, October 10 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and on Wednesday, October 12 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre.
General Voting Day runs from 8 am to 8 pm on Oct. 15 at the Comox Community Centre.
All voting in the Village of Cumberland takes place from 8 am to 8 pm at the Cumberland Cultural Centre. Advance voting takes place on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.
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It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.
Mayor Bob Wells and all Courtenay incumbent councillors have been re-elected. Evan Jolicoeur has also been elected. Manno Theos has lost his seat.
Jonathan Kerr, Jenn Meilleur, Steve Blacklock, Chris Haslett, Ken Grant and Maureen Swift have been elected in Comox.
Vickey Brown has been elected mayor in Cumberland, defeating long-time mayor and councillor Leslie Baird.
Voting down -20.6% in Courtenay, -22.3% in Comox and -50.9% in Cumberland.
Full results with Electoral Areas A, B and C, school board and Islands Trust results in the morning.
Daniel Arbour in Area A and Edwin Grieve in Area C won by wide margins. Richard Hardy defeated Arzeena Hamir by 23 votes.
Shannon Aldinger topped the polls in races for SD71 school trustees.
Click the headline on this page for complete results and voter turnout.