Merie Beauchamp and other volunteers from “Break the Slate” prepare their signs.
She said they are protesting slate politics in Saanich, specifically the “United for Saanich” slate headed by Incumbent Mayor Richard Atwell.
“A lot of people, like myself, voted for Atwell in the last election. And we were big supporters of him because we thought we really thought that he spoke our truth about democracy, and how slates were really bad for municipal politics,” Beauchamp said.
In 2014, Atwell tweeted criticism of then-mayor Frank Leonard. Leonard campaigned with a team of council candidates, but not a slate and not with a slate’s benefits.
“This political party that’s registered as a political party share the same financial agent, all of them do. And they also share one platform. So, they don’t have their own individual visions or voices,” Beauchamp said.
When asked about his criticism of former mayor Frank Leonard’s strategy of running with a team of like-minded candidates, incumbent mayor Richard Atwell said the current situation with “United for Saanich” is different.
“I was running to break into the council, that council had not turned over in many, many years. They were all working together and campaigning together. It was simply impossible to break through as a candidate,” Atwell said.
Slates are typically short-lived, parties of convenience. And a gamble, according to University of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince.
“For the mayor, I really don’t see what’s in it for him other than perhaps, a downside, quite frankly,” Prince said.
Beauchamp is firmly planting her position on Saanich politics, and hoping voters get the message on Oct. 20.
“I’m not really sure why he’s flipped flopped on his position. I certainly haven’t. And there are a lot of people who remember that,” Beauchamp said.