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Greater Victoria, BC News


Date ArticleType
11/1/2014 Published Article
Not Fair to Voters

During this municipal election period, I worry that once again we are doing our voters a disservice. There are hundreds of candidates running to be our elected leaders, which are far too many for voters to be able to make sense of what’s going on. The media will try hard to represent each of the candidates equally and be fair to the candidates. Unfortunately, the reporting of election events and all-candidate forums will focus on the spectacular informing voters on who stormed out, who went on a nonsensical rant, and who stole the microphone and didn’t give it back.

The provincial Capital, the City of Victoria, seems to be the most severely afflicted by the lack of reasonable information for voters. The candidate count in Victoria is eight mayoral candidates and 24 council candidates. I understand everyone who wants to should be allowed to register and run for elected office. However, I’m not sure treating every candidate equally is fair to voters. There are certainly two ends to the spectrum. In the Victoria mayoralty race we have an incumbent mayor, an incumbent councillor, a former councillor and cabinet minister, and a media personality. All of these four candidates have relevant experience, informed perspectives and are taking the process seriously and they should be heard. On the other end of the spectrum, a clown is running for office. A literal clown, who dresses like, and I can only assume, acts like a clown. I recognize the protest and statement this makes but shouldn’t we just ignore the clown?

Yes, the clown has the right to free speech, but we also have the right to not listen. Our community needs to elect people into roles that govern multi-million dollar public entities, deal with complex legal issues and provide community leadership. I don’t think a clown should be invited to all-candidate forums in the name of fairness alone. I don’t think a clown should be in the media because the oversize nose makes for a good photo. As a community, it is critical to identify reasonable candidates who present a platform that will help voters make a decision. I think for any group: private, media, not-for-profit, charity, or topical website to treat candidates equally is unfair to voters. All these groups need to do the hard work of sorting out reasonable candidates and promote a content-rich dialogue about how our communities will be shaped and who can lead us there. We should be supporting voter’s right to information to ensure our communities thrive. Treating every candidate equally may be fair to the individual candidates but it is unfair to voters. And does not meet the spirit of the electoral process.

Bruce Carter CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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