Even in the age of social media, with politicians rallying for followers on Twitter and Facebook, some things are better done the old fashioned way.
With only a few days left before Saturday’s municipal election, Saanich’s two mayoral candidates – incumbent Frank Leonard and challenger, former Saanich South MLA David Cubberley – have taken to the streets to meet the people they’re hoping to serve.
“It’s pretty low-tech campaigning, but it’s the part I enjoy the most: talking to the people I work for,” said Leonard, who has kept up with his full-time mayoral duties around a daily canvassing schedule.
Leonard calls the election a performance review – one that hasn’t dealt him any surprises as he continues to talk to residents about their top issues.
“Our municipality really is a community-up organization. We really do focus on community consultation on everything we’re doing and we don’t make decisions without community input,” he said. “We have a pretty good idea of what folks are thinking.”
Like Leonard, Cubberley is focusing his efforts on the traditional means of garnering votes: knocking on doors and erecting signs – activities that, in addition to all-candidates meetings, have the mayoral hopeful feeling good, albeit fairly tired leading up to the weekend vote.
“It’s been long, but it’s energizing,” Cubberley said. “Contact with people is good, because there are lots of issues and it’s interesting to engage people in conversation about what we can do.”
Cubberley identifies speeding and cut-through traffic in residential areas as concerns voiced by residents he’s come across while canvassing.
“The doorstep gives you a real barometer for what’s top of mind for people,” he added.
Both candidates plan to continue door-knocking across Saanich until the polls open on Nov. 19.
“We’ve got our map and I’ve got a highlighter pen to show where I’ve been,” Leonard said. “It’s a big municipality, so it makes you feel humble when you mark down where you’ve been and how much more you’ve got to do.”
Council candidate releases regional mission statement
Saanich Council candidate and president of the Gorge Tillicum Neighbourhood Association Rob Wickson released a proposal to evaluate the regional governance structure in Greater Victoria. On Monday, Wickson issued his plan to look at how well regional police, fire, transportation and land development are currently planned.
“Everyone gets scared off when you use the ‘A’ word (for amalgamation), well I said, ‘Let’s start up the conversation,’” Wickson said, calling out mayoral candidates for avoiding the topic. “Why are we afraid to have a conversation about the governance structure in our community, whether it needs to be revisited or whether or not it needs to be adjusted in some way?”