Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So far, only one candidate remains consistent on issues in Prince Rupert Election Campaign

With six weeks until the November vote for Prince Rupert Council, the flow of information from incumbent candidates would seem to be off to a very, very slow start.

A situation that leaves us with little in the way of discussion points for the campaign coming from those that have been in the thick of municipal affairs over the last three years.

That lack of communication from the incumbents is leaving the campaign agenda to the newcomers in the race to this point and with that, some questions about how Council has handled some past issues are slowly making their way into the discussion.

One interesting theme came as a  result of the past week of UBCM meetings in Whistler, and the lack of information from the Mayor and Council regarding their plan of attack for that late September trip.

Council Candidate Blair Mirau has been running an ask the candidate forum on his website since he started his quest for a Council seat and last week one participant on his Q and A forum called attention to the convention and the city's participation at the UBCM event.

You can review the full  Q and A section of Mr. Mirau's website here

The question on UBCM and information from Council that was asked of the candidate is one that probably hits home for many others in the community as well, considering the lack of updates at to what the city's goals and agenda items might have been as they made their way down to Whistler.

In the lead up to UBCM there were occasional mentions of the trip to come at Council, for the most part however they were observations made in passing during past Council sessions.

The most recent comment was on the theme of Council hosting a workshop prior to the meeting, suggestion which was offered up by Councillor Anna Ashley as part of the September 2nd Council session.

However, beyond that brief mention of the planning stage for the North Coast trek, little other information was provided by Council in the weeks leading up to their journey.

No update from Council was provided prior to departure, as to who was planning on attending on behalf of the City, or what they hoped to bring to the attention of their fellow councillors in convention.

Something which Mr. Mirau had thoughts on, particularly as it relates to the issue of how Council delivers information to the public. He then went a bit further on the topic of the city's UBCM contributions, highlighting the controversial topic of Port payments and the discussion that the current situation provided for during council sessions this year.

That was one topic that Council did take to UBCM this year and as we noted last week, it was a theme that LNG Minister Rich Coleman addressed in his opening address to the convention.

With the  Minister seeming to reject the belief that the current situation is flawed, in fact suggesting that the Rupert system may prove to be the provincial blue print for LNG industry development.

Mr. Mirau tackles the port payments issue on his website, offering a different viewpoint of the current council thinking on the topic.  His commentary on the issue, offers up a review that would certainly put him on the other side of the table, from what in the most part is a solid block of the current council that is in lock step with the Mayor when it comes to their discussions with the Port.

As we outlined last week, the would be candidate has also tackled the topic of more cooperation with other communities in the region, a theme he has expanded on through a YouTube video presentation, a form of message delivery which we believe might be the first use of that information portal in a municipal campaign in recent years.

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Mr. Mirau's thoughts on those themes and many others, might be a valuable asset for Council after the November vote, the prospect of taking a different look at current issues is one that might provide for a welcome change from the last number of years.

Should he find success on election day he might actually be able to help turn the Council chamber into an actual place for lengthy discussion of key issues in public, something that hasn't been very common in recent years.

If nothing else, his comments through his website offer up the topic for discussion right now before we vote, issues that should become part of the campaign through the next six weeks.

As we head into October, Mr. Mirau is pretty well the only candidate for office that is offering any kind of narrative of items of importance in the campaign.

Mayoralty candidate Lee Brain's contributions thus far are spotty at best, after an initial burst of information at the start of his campaign, he has been fairly silent of late. With few updates on issues for the campaign posted to any of his information portals.

Of those currently serving on Council, the flow of information from the Mayor has been limited to ad spots in the weekly newspaper, while the rest of those on Council have had little to say about their plans for November, let alone offering any kind of topic for discussion.

More than a few of those seeking our vote in November could take a page from Mr. Mirau's council quest notebook.  For the moment, he seems to be the only one looking for our vote that is offering up information on his candidacy and asking the voter what they think is important to them.

Both of which would seem to be the purpose of the election exercise.

You can follow our Municipal election coverage from our archive page.

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