City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Writer’s Block: Predictions for 2022

The Free Press columnist Bill Phillips has a crack at predicting some items for 2022

It’s the beginning of a new year and that means it’s time for Bill’s Eerily Inaccurate Predictions for 2022.

As I gaze into my crystal ball (… well, it’s a window ornament and it has as much clairvoyance as I do, so it will work), I will boldly predict what will happen in the coming year.

I will go out on a limb with my first prediction.

More celebrities will die and we will bemoan the fact that it’s been a tough year on celebrities. Thank goodness we have Twitter etc. so we can talk about how Betty White’s death affected us even though we never met her. Whew, was thinking about volunteering at the food bank, good thing a trending tweet intervened. I almost looked up from my screen.

My next amazing prediction: There will be not be a federal election in 2022. There might be some harumphing about having one from time to time but everyone’s too broke to have another election … and that includes the country not just the political parties.

The next amazing prediction: There will be a municipal election in 2022. Wow, really went out on a limb on that one. What’s that? Who’s going to win? My window ornament/crystal ball doesn’t give up answers that easily.

The first question is who is going to run? Will Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza, Sparwood Mayor David Wilks, and Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher be running again? My gut feeling (which is different than gazing into a crystal ball) is that all three will be looking to continue.

Qualizza is finishing up her first term as mayor and I get the feeling she doesn’t feel like she’s done. The electorate may have something to say about that though, depending on who, if anyone, will run against her. Unless there is a major scandal and/or unrest amongst the masses, unseating a sitting mayor is tough to do. However, Qualizza did just that to Mary Giuliano in 2018. Will Giuliano be looking for some redemption in 2022? We’ll have to wait and see.

But the wait shouldn’t be too long as we can expect those thinking of running to quietly, or not so quietly, start positioning themselves for a run.

Wilks, who would be seeking his fourth term as Sparwood mayor likely isn’t done either. Other than a stint as MP, Wilks has been on Sparwood council since 2002. At 62 years old, he’s probably looking at one more term before retiring from politics.

McKerracher has been mayor of Elkford for 17 years and could be looking to retire, however, my feeling he’s still up for the challenge.

Another amazing prediction is that we will have a new Regional District of East Kootenay director for Area A (all the hinterlands between Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford). It’s a bold prediction given that Mike Sosnowski, who has been director for 17 years, has announced he will not be running again. So there will be someone new there.

My last amazing prediction for 2022 is that the Galloway Lands will be a hugely controversial issue in 2022. Another out there prediction, given that it is already a hugely controversial issue.

One of the interesting things is that, depending on how quickly the RDEK moves, the decision on the Galloway Lands could be one of the last ones Sosnowski makes, or it could be one of the first ones the new director makes.

Welcome to politics, the executive bathroom is over there, and we need you to give a recommendation on a highly controversial, divisive issue before you wash your hands.

It will be undoubtedly be an interesting year.

Bill Phillips is a 30-year veteran of journalism. He grew up in Fernie and began his career at The Free Press in the 1980s.

municipal politics