KAMLOOPS — I am not impressed with how the municipal candidates are presenting themselves in the short civic byelection campaign. Even those of us in the news media are finding it hard to relate to viewers, listeners and readers what the views of the various candidates are.
There are a couple of things that candidates should have done more of with their time. They should have done a better job of communicating their ideas with the public. That’s not easy when you have a short campaign, few forums to air your views, little time for door knocking (still the most effective method of campaigning), and little time to raise much in the way of campaign funds. But I would have thought more candidates would have set up Facebook pages to get their views out, maybe done some flyer distribution to tell us what they have planned. Maybe spent a bit on advertising, especially for the mayoralty candidates.
If I asked you to give me the platforms of the Mayoralty candidates, you would have a tough time. You might tell me Ken Christian is not in favor of KGHM-Ajax, and that Bill McQuarrie wants to freeze taxes. But what else can you tell me about their platforms? My guess is-not much. And that’s for the perceived front runners. What about the other four candidates? Know anything about them? Do they have any good ideas? And even among the front runners, what else do Christian and McQuarrie have to promote? The point is- we don’t know. And that’s too bad. And most of us don’t take the time to see if they have a web site or Facebook site (and some do), examine their platforms and make an informed decision. A few have signs out, but signs need some substance behind them if you want to elect someone. If you go for the person with the most signs, you’re taking a risk. Although at least they’ve put enough effort in to get their name out there. Which is better than some.
And that’s the other thing that bugs me. Many of these candidates who have had some background in the public spotlight are totally, it seems, running on name recognition. That’s wrong on many fronts. What someone did in another political arena, or did in the community in some way, is hardly enough to qualify them for City Hall. You can’t assume everyone knows who you are because you had your name on the radio or in the paper once or twice. It just doesn’t cut it. I think some candidates will be very surprised at the lack of votes they receive because they made the mistake of relying on past glory. And there’s not much time to change that.
Running for public office is a job that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think a number of candidates have put far less time and money into their campaigns than they should have. I hope they’re not too disappointed.