Did Peter Miller waste everyone’s time by, first, running for mayor of North Saanich and then, second, withdrawing after his first and only candidates’ forum?
Yes. He did.
It’s a case where a single issue — in Miller’s case, a desire to unseat incumbent Mayor Alice Finall — was a candidate’s downfall. By zeroing in on a lone pet peeve, Miller and others like him run the risk of not learning anything about the issues facing local communities and flaming out once their message is delivered.
At the Oct. 30 all candidates forum, Miller had to admit he did not know about many of the issues being raised by the audience. To his credit, Miller said he realized this shortcoming, decided quickly to drop out of the race and support challenger Dorothy Hartshorne. He said he had not heard the candidates’ positions prior to the forum and therefore felt comfortable backing another candidate.
That’s the position every voter is in, going into a new election. They have passions, interests and questions. Most who are truly interested will seek out those answers from the candidates. Thank goodness not all of them decide that for the sake of one issue, they’re going to run for office.
But some do. Take David Shebib, running for mayor in all 13 Victoria region municipalities. He’s anti-government and is running on that ticket almost exclusively. Is what he’s saying a legitimate concern? Perhaps. But it’s a single issue none-the-less.
Most candidates in Sidney, North and Central Saanich do take the job seriously and learn about the issues affecting their communities. It is for these people whom electors must look and that means pushing past the chaff. It means asking the question you want to be asked and not being left at the mercy of single-issue candidates who tend to divert attention.