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Pique N' Your Interest

All aboard the Crazy Train



It’s called ‘crazy time’ – that period of time every three years when people throw their name into the ring and decide to run for public office.

This year may be crazier than most with nine, yes nine, community members running for the spot of mayor. There is still time for more to declare and even time for others to change their minds. The nomination period ends this Friday.

Only seven candidates are in the race for six council seats, so far.

Let’s review that again. Seven people are running for six council seats and nine people are running for one mayor’s seat.

Does that strike anyone else as odd?

Here’s the thing. We know from the last time around when Dave Davenport was the only community member brave enough to challenge Mayor Hugh O’Reilly that the community has some reservations electing a mayor with no previous council experience.

It was one of the Davenport’s weakest points in what was otherwise a very strong campaign against O’Reilly.

The community wants its candidates to put some time on council, learning the ropes, getting familiar with the odd system that is our Canadian bureaucracy before electing them leader of the pack.

Knowing this, I find it strange that more people are running for mayor this year than for council, where arguably your chances of getting a seat on council are much higher than winning the mayor’s seat.

Maybe the candidates think it’s either time to go big or go home. I’ve seen people play poker that way and it can be a risky game.

Maybe they believe that by running for mayor they have more of a shot of getting their message, their platform out to more people.

Or maybe they think with Mayor O’Reilly, who was a very popular mayor, out of the picture, they have as good a shot as any at winning the race.

Who knows?

But it’s got me thinking about the job of our councillors and why so few are stepping up to the plate this year.

Covering council for the last three years I can say without hesitation that it’s a thankless job. They work hard. They get paid a pittance. And the kudos are few and far between.

But when you talk to councillors and some of the candidates running they talk of a passion of serving the community, of doing what’s right for Whistler, of stepping up to the plate.

They are braver people than I.

But I have a few concerns as we head into these next three years.