Election season is upon us, but it’s almost hard to tell. There are few campaign signs, no public debate, and little information outside of this newspaper about candidates. How are we supposed to know who to vote for? I’ve always thought of the lead up to an election as a job interview – constituents are the employer, and candidates are the prospective employees. With that in mind, here are a few general pointers on how my vote can be won.
1) Show up. Normally, I’d be annoyed by candidates who have taken no interest in council meetings or community events suddenly showing up at every. Single. Thing. This too little, too late approach to election season is always off-putting.
But it turns out, it’s even more off-putting when candidates don’t show up at all during the campaign period. I’m practically praying to see council candidates at meetings and community events. Why would I hire someone who doesn’t show up for the interview?
I’ve been to all but two council meetings for the last year, and aside from incumbent candidates, by my observations, just two candidates running for election have spent time in council chambers. Showing some interest in the job you hope to take on goes a long way toward instilling confidence in voters.
2) Demonstrate that you can play well with others. Also, be kind. It’s great – encouraged, even – to have your own ideas about what the city should do and how it should do it. But ultimately, the work council does is a team effort. It’s admirable to stand by your values, but remember that you’re representing the community as a whole. If you already have a beef with the candidates you are running with, it makes me worry you’ll butt heads with them on principle in council chambers, and that makes me worry that council won’t get any work done. And let’s be serious, there’s lots of work to be done.
3) Remember who you’re there for. It’s not you, it’s me. Well, us, really. If you’re running out of spite, or to clean house, or for any kind of personal glory, you’re going to be in for a shock if you suddenly find yourself in a seat in council chambers. Ask anyone who has ever been elected to office: it’s a lot of work. If you run for civil service for any reason other than to serve civilians, you’re going to find yourself an unpopular and ineffective member of council. Show care and consideration for your your potential constituents.
4) Talk about indigenous issues. Flin Flon has a large indigenous population, and many of the social challenges Flin Flon faces come from a misunderstanding or misconception of, along with a lack of action taken to address the issues some of our indigenous community members face. It is important, but not enough, to focus on infrastructure and industry. Truth and reconciliation are integral to this community’s future. If every shred of industry were to leave this town, indigenous people from outlying communities would still access services in Flin Flon. Show that you can lead with compassion and empathy, and that you are ready to take action.
5) Be honest. I’d rather vote for someone who is genuine and transparent, even if I don’t agree with every part of their campaign, than for someone who gives off a vibe of having any kind of secret agenda, no matter how great they sound.
Be sure to vote at your polling station between 8 am and 8 pm on Oct. 24, or at the advance poll on Oct. 17.