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.
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The Week: Big Money wants its control back and a candidate wins 2022 Moronic award
We have to hand it to that vicious Big Money Gang that pooled their pocket change to launch some mean-spirited attack ads on social media. They took a page right out of Trumpville and tossed down some nasty smack, never mind that the ads made no sense – Reality check: nobody’s trying to defund the Comox Valley RCMP detachment! – these are just a handful of chickenshit middle school bullies who have more lunch money than you but want to steal your snacks anyway.
Well, they got the attention they wanted, but, like all angry people who feel entitled, they made themselves look like morons. That’s what happens when you abuse the privilege of free speech by spewing lies and misinformation and then hide behind anonymity.
Take Back Comox Valley was smart enough, however, to schedule their smear campaign before the official “campaign period” began on Sept. 17. Elections BC tells Decafnation that it received a complaint about the Take Back Comox Valley social media drivel several weeks ago, but the EBC determined the ads did not violate election advertising laws because they ran during the pre-campaign period (July 18 to Sept. 16). Mind boggling. Slapping them with a fine wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.
But here’s the interesting question, where do they think the Comox Valley went? And who do they want to Take it Back from?
Where did “their” Comox Valley go? It went away from them. Over the last two municipal elections, increased numbers of progressively-minded voters have elected progressively-minded people to the Valley’s councils and boards who had the gall, the audacity to start challenging the old way of doing things. And that pissed off the Big Money Gang. They lost their self-claimed right to control and now they want it back.
And what might they want do with that control? They apparently don’t want safer streets (17th Street), but they do want to pave more rural land. They don’t want affordable housing, they want to build more expensive single-family houses. They aren’t concerned about forcing future generations of local residents into enormous debt by extending infrastructure to service new subdivisions outside the urban boundaries, but they stamp their feet when the council has to maintain existing infrastructure (Fifth Street Bridge). And for God’s sake don’t get them started on climate change or social issues like public health orders, childcare or rainbow crosswalks because their heads will explode.
So who was it that took “their” Comox Valley? Well, it’s a safe bet it wasn’t the Village Council in Cumberland. That council has been almost pitch perfect with its community for quite some time, so it would have strong immunity to the advertisements’ violent denunciations. And it’s unlikely the Big Money Gang planned a hit on the Comox Town Council because until the last year the old guard has controlled that bunch of obstructionists through their council henchmen.
So it feels like the Big Money Gang has its crosshairs aimed squarely at the Courtenay City Council and the regional district directors in Areas A and B. These are three of the hotbeds that breed the progressive ideas that are moving the Comox Valley into the 21st Century, where forward-thinking people are planning for the serious and wide reaching adaptations necessary to accommodate our population growth, the changing employment environment, unrelenting social issues and our evolution into an era dominated by climate change.
The good news is that these progressive thinkers didn’t get elected by accident or mistake. They were chosen by an electorate that has itself become more progressive; to wit, climate change deniers are now the crazies on the fringe. In municipalities everywhere, progressive thinking has become the mainstream by necessity. Wildfires, floods and heat domes are forcing us to think and plan for the unthinkable, such as where our food comes from and how much water we have.
The mayor of Lytton has said that as a man in his 60s, he thought climate change was something the next generation had to worry about. “Now I’m the mayor of a town that doesn’t exist.”
And the even better news is that we the people have the ultimate weapon to keep the Big Money Gang from eating our lunch: a vote. If you don’t want the clock turned backwards on progress in the Comox Valley, then haul your ass out of the house and vote.
HEY, BRENNAN, PICK UP A PHONE
Decafnation got a big kick out of Courtenay council candidate Brennan Day trying to shrug off his trademark infringement – using the logos for the City of Courtenay and the province on a couple of his campaign signs – by saying in a Comox Valley Record article that he was doing it intentionally to get attention, which we have to say sounds like a lot of BS.
It appeared to us and many others that Day was trying to make his signs look more “official” while complaining about the cost of maintenance on the Fifth Street bridge and to improve safety conditions on 17th Street. Because without the logos and with just the word “misspent,” handwritten to look like graffiti, the sign looks like it came from a crackpot.
But that’s not the funny part. At the end of the article is a long quote from Day in which he admits he knew using the logos was wrong, but since he couldn’t find precise language in the city’s bylaws saying so, he did it anyway. And then he goes on to blame the city staff for not having a more clear bylaw. So, is it their fault he broke the law?
And, then in the most alarming statement ever, Day admits that he checked out the bylaws of other cities and found out that they clearly prohibit using city logos in campaign material.
He makes the effort to check the bylaws of other cities, where he learns they say no to using logos, but he doesn’t bother to pick up the phone and ask his own City Hall staff? Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t live in Courtenay. Still, it’s not a long distance call.
Well, anyway, Day wins our award for the Most Moronic Explanation That Turned Into a Giant Foot In The Mouth of the 2022 election campaign. So far.
In case you missed it, here’s the whole quote from the Record.
“To be fair, I did check into the municipal bylaws, and they are ambiguous as to the use (of city logos), or at least I couldn’t find it in my research, so I decided to try it. Obviously, they are covered up now… In a lot of other jurisdictions, they spell it out very clearly, that use of the city logos on campaign literature and advertising is not allowed. Courtenay seems that they are a little bit behind in their bylaws.”
Want to watch and hear some candidates answer questions in person? Here’s a few public events we know about:
Climate change will be the focus of an all-candidates forum for the mayor and council candidates in Courtenay. The event is at 6.30 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the North Island College theater. It has been organized by NIC nursing students and the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment. The public is also invited to submit questions.
The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce has planned a “Meet and Greet” for all council, regional district and school board candidates from 5 pm to 7 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Courtenay & District Museum.
There will be a forum for positions on the School District 71 Board of Trustees at 6:30 pm in the All Purpose Room at G.P. Vanier Secondary School. The event has been organized by the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), the Comox District Teachers’ Association (CDTA), and The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 439 (CUPE). You can submit questions in advance.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 15 for all local government positions.
Comox Valley Regional District
General Voting Day (Saturday, Oct. 15) and advance voting (Wednesday Oct. 5 and Wednesday Oct. 12) 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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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.
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