If you hadn’t noticed, it’s almost municipal election time. By almost, I mean we’re within three months, but that’s pretty darn close according to Elections BC, with the start of the official pre-campaign period around the corner on July 18.
For the voters, the various administrative milestones to October 15 mean little, but the machinery that is the electoral process is well and truly at work in the lead up to that most joyous day, when communities around the province select who will represent them on council through to 2026.
Here’s the basic rundown of the timelime, courtesy of (and apologies for simplifying so much) Elections BC:
It’s been the ‘election period’ since January 1, there’s a candidate nomination period between August 30 and September 9, candidates have until September 16 to get all their paperwork to the local Chief Elections Officer (or withdraw), at which time the official ‘campaign period’ begins on September 17 and we’re off to the races.
Well, not really. There’s still voting and all (October 15), but the candidates are the people I am interested in right now.
Between the three municipalities of the Elk Valley, we have four candidates for mayor so far. One in Elkford, one in Sparwood, and two in Fernie. These are not official candidates yet (as they haven’t even had the chance to submit their paperwork) but they’ve signalled their intent to run so I am going to call them candidates.
There may be more throwing their hat into the ring for mayor or maybe not. There’s also 18 councillor positions between the three towns to fill.
Here at The Free Press, we’re starting the process of checking in with the incumbents to ask what their intentions are. Some have served for only one term, others a few. This will be a slow process, as running for office isn’t something you decide quickly, and telling the paper is a fair way along the decision-making process.
Coverage on what all the elected officials have decided will come as they make their decisions (and when they’ve told the paper). Rumour, or off the record remarks from third parties count for nothing. We need formal, good-faith commitment that somebody will run, as confirmed by themselves.
The same goes for those not serving on a local council that are thinking of running: Let us know. All candidates when they decide to run will get a few questions from yours truly. They’re pretty basic, but they’ll help locals beyond one’s own social circles understand who they are.
I’ll even do those thinking of running one better, and give you the questions right here:
1. Who are you? (Name, occupation, how long you’ve lived in Fernie/Sparwood/Elkford, etc)
2. What are you running for (Mayor/Councillor) and why?
3. What do you want to achieve in a term in local government?
Incumbent councillors will get a variation of these questions – because we already know who they are, and they’ll have a record in government to lean back on – but the idea is the same.
All candidates for public office in the Elk Valley will be approached by yours truly to have a chat. Hopefully most will respond (I don’t bite). All candidates that do will get a story in the paper. My email is below.
(If you want to buy an ad, email email@example.com – that’s not my wheelhouse).
We have two months until candidates have to have made a decision, and three months until voters cast their ballots. I pre-emptively wish all candidates the best of luck.
-Scott Tibballs is editor of The Free Press.
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