Nanaimo by-election gets 13 candidates by deadline

Nanaimo by-election gets 13 candidates by deadline

Councillor believes a higher number of candidates in the Nanaimo by-election is positive

The provincial election signs have been down not even a month and already those in Nanaimo are seeing political signs again.

This time 13 people are vying for a seat on Nanaimo’s City Council.

“I think it’s great. The more people the better,” says Nanaimo City Councillor Gord Fuller. “It shows a great deal of interest in the community and of people wanting to make it a better community.”

The seat is vacant after Wendy Pratt resigned in April. That happened shortly after a criminal investigation launched into matters surrounding Nanaimo City Council. The latest in a list of controversies. From council laying a law suit against it’s own mayor to numerous leaks of confidential information to the proposed Nanaimo Events Centre that got soundly defeated at referendum.

In the City’s last by-election in 2011 six people ran for the empty seat.

Councillor Fuller doesn’t believe the high number reflects discontent with this current council.

“A lot of people will say it does but what I think it reflects is the need for a city councillor.”

Among those running are several who have tried getting elected in Nanaimo’s municipal elections in the past such as Brunie Brunie, Leon Cake, Kevin Cantelon and Al Thompson.

They’re joined by Sheryl Armstrong, Sacia Burton, Jim Mercier, Noah Routley, Neil Saunders, Fred Statham, Kevin Storrie, Alexis Taylor Middleton and Kelly Whiteside.

“With 13 candidates do we really know any of these people?” asks Vancouver Island University Political Scientist Alex Netherton. “How do we get to know them? What happens during the campaign? How do we distinguish one from another? And for me this poses an interesting question especially after looking at the performance of this last council.”

Netherton says perhaps it’s time for party slates so people will know which groups of people might get along.

Councillor Fuller says research is a challenge but important.

“Don’t vote for someone just because you see one thing that they say that appeals to you,” says Fuller. “Make sure they are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”

The Nanaimo by-election vote is set for July 8th.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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