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Maxed Out

If you go into the woods Nov. 16



If you go into the woods Nov. 16 th .

One beautiful autumn day, a busload of politicians was driving to a political rally along a lightly travelled country road. The bus driver, deep in retirement fantasies brought on by the bucolic scene rolling by, loses control and flips the bus into a ditch. Hearing the commotion, a farmer rushes over from a nearby house, assesses the situation, runs back, climbs into his D-9 Cat, lowers the blade and buries them all.

The next day, RCMP are at the farm questioning the man. "So you buried all the politicians?" asked the police officer.

"Yep," replied the farmer.

"Were they all dead?" asked the astonished cop.

"Some said they weren't," replied the farmer, taking a slow drag on his pipe. "But you know how politicians lie."

There's an election 'round the corner and it's time to make some tough choices. The choices seem tougher this year. The issues seem tougher this year. and more contentious. The candidates seem more diverse and more qualified.

Borrowing a page from the sustainability project, maybe the best starting point would be determining the Good Muni Councillor Criteria. I promise, no computer models to follow and I'll strive to limit the criteria to 50.

Actually, I'll limit it to three. First and foremost, we need councillors who are hard workers. This town was built by hustle and vision. The touted Whistler Experience mostly revolves around working your butt off. We can't afford to elect people who don't do their homework, don't read their materials before they come to meetings, don't come to meetings. There's too much work to do in the next three years.

Second, we need councillors who are going to bring a couple of good ideas to the table. Ideas that are burning inside them. Ideas that, while maybe not perfect, will nonetheless spark other ideas in the give and take of debate. It's a given that our councillors need to be good listeners. They need to be able to sift through ideas and winnow out the bad ones. But they also need to bring a few with them to get things going. No one's ever going to have the luxury of knowing all the good ideas and choosing the best. But one person with one good idea can unleash a landslide of action.

Third, good ideas and hard work aren't enough. We need councillors who can make things happen, partly by doing, partly by leading and partly by inspiring.

Curiously absent from that short list is continuity. That's because continuity isn't a criteria. It's a conclusion. Continuity is only important if you truly believe you are travelling the correct path. If you're lost in the woods and you decide to walk out and you just keep walking even though you don't recognize where you are or where you're going, you might vote for continuity. just keep walking. But if the landscape you find yourself in seems to be getting more and more foreign instead of familiar, maybe you're going the wrong direction and need to rethink your commitment to the path you're on. Continuity is the refuge of incumbents.