Out here on the Saanich Peninsula there’s a minor storm brewing about where people live and where it is they’ve decided to run for office next month.
In fact, there are nine candidates across the three Peninsula municipalities who are in this category. They are running for council or for school trustee in jurisdictions where they do not live.
To start, B.C. allows this at the municipal level. Provincially and federally as well, a person can live in one place and represent another in the political arena.
So, technically, it’s OK.
What’s the problem, then?
Some would argue that potential candidates only work in the community — then go home at night and sleep somewhere else. For some, this would preclude that person from representing their interests at the local council level.
By that same token, however, a person who lives in the community but commutes elsewhere to work would face the same sort of arguement.
In both cases, it’s assumed that the individual doesn’t know a thing about either the lifestyle or the working day activities of a particular community. And we all know where assumption gets us.
There are so-called non-resident candidates in the election races in Sidney, Central Saanich and North Saanich. Most of them live in one place and work in another, or vice versa.
The question electors must ask themselves is does that candidate know enough about all aspects of the community to be its best representative and simply not a one trick pony?
That’s where your participation in this democratic process comes in. Instead of dismissing someone for living a step across the border, find out how involved they are and whether your neighbour can be the representative you deserve.