Well-meaning supporters, some with much experience, are telling candidates what they should be doing to get their message out.
One frequent suggestion is to go to the places where people are. But sometimes this can lead to candidates showing up, uninvited, at meetings where they really don't belong. This is unfortunate, because it can contribute to the jaded feelings many folks have about politicians being opportunists.
Another common piece of advice is to knock on as many doors as you can. But if you do the math - 24 hours in a day, 29,000 people in North Cowichan - realistically, how many doors can one person knock on? And of course, once again, the candidate is showing up uninvited. Is this really the best use of everyone's time?
I'm trying to do politics differently. To be as open and transparent as possible, so people get to know some about the person behind the signs and brochures.
I've been told by people I respect, who've done it before, that it's important to pick three specific issues and say what I'm going to do about them. Get that out there to folks. Put it front and center.
Well and good, yet North Cowichan is a large community of communities -- full of issues, ranked in importance differently in each community and in each person's mind.
Taking care of one issue in one place makes some people happy and others frustrated. Doing politics in terms of issues, it seems, has served to divide us rather than bring us together.
Rather than say, "I want to see the skateboard park built in Chemainus" (which I do), it seems more important for me to ask bigger questions that apply to all of us -- no matter which issue we're looking at. Three of the biggest questions I've come across so far:
1. How can we make sure the people who've helped to build this valley can afford to keep living here?
3. How can we create the kind of community we all want and still be fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible?
Times are tough, times are changing -- as a species, we humans are in a situation we've never been in before.
Seesawing back and forth, right to left then back again, only wears us out and polarizes us. We need to come together and move forward.
Please take the time to read my thoughts and questions. Better yet, pop me some of your own. And if you like what I'm standing for, I'd appreciate a good word to your friends and neighbours.
After all, that's what we are, neighbours. Let's be neighbours working together to make our visions real.