Hearing the candidates–an exercise in futility?

October 25, 2008 at 9:31 am 2 comments

If you’re frustrated in your attempts to learn more about the candidates in the upcoming municipal vote you’re not alone. Yule Heibel spells out the increasing difficulty candidates are having connecting with voters through traditional means in a new blog post specifically targeted at Victoria’s business community.

The typically agenda-driven community-organized meeting is about focusing on all the problems that bedevil us, and often on demanding our “rights” to better services. Take affordable housing, a truly complex issue. At your typical community association-sponsored all-candidates meeting, the issue invariably devolves to this: someone from the audience asks the candidates whether they will “stand up to” the developers of new buildings and “make them” include “affordable” housing. And if they’re not able to “stand up to” those evil rich bloodsuckers, will they shut down development so that “our” city won’t be “given over” to the rich and the poor won’t be squeezed out? That’s how easy many people think it should be. If we can’t get what we want, shut the whole damn thing down. Stop everything.

Complexity? Com-schmexity. Rhetoric and posturing is all that matters. The candidates are forced to respond and react within this framework, and the result is ridiculous.

A must-read for anyone who cares about solving the issues, not just complaining about them.

Meanwhile, at least two Councillor candidates are mulling over wresting control over the dialogue from interest groups and staging our own meet-the-public event. We’ll keep you posted.

Entry filed under: Election 2008, social issues.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yule Heibel  |  October 26, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Hi Rob, thanks for linking. I did follow up earlier today with a blog post about DV2020’s excellent questions, a small peace offering to offset my criticism of their $30 price tag for the upcoming 11/3 mayoral candidates luncheon.

    I still maintain that the biz community is shooting itself in the foot by erecting this price barrier. Talk about sending the wrong message, when it’s already the case that in the face of social and environmental problems, business is on the wrong side of the credibility gap.

  • 2. goyodelarosa  |  October 28, 2008 at 9:58 am


    I couldn’t agree with Yule Heibel more on this ridiculous pattern of inviting candidates to attend meetings for which entrance fees are charged to us, the very ones who are already paying with time, energy and money commitments to serve our fellow citizens.

    All Mayoral and Councillor Candidates should boycott these anti-democratic meetings, until the Chamber or other special interest come to the realization that this is still ostensibly a democracy, and open up the meetings to be free for all and sundry to attend, provided we are all well behaved, of course.

    Gregory Hartnell, Candidate
    Victoria City Council
    President, Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



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