It’s municipal election season, but the breeze from Ottawa is being felt in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
The next federal election is slated for October of next year and political parties in our region are considering who they will put on the ballot.
It’s a little different this time around, as voters here become part of the new riding of Courtenay-Alberni. We no longer share the same ballot as those in the northern chunk of Nanaimo. Courtenay and (inexplicably) Powell River are now part of the riding that includes Nanoose Bay, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni and neighbouring communities.
How that affects voting patterns is unclear, but it could be a wash — while outgoing Conservative James Lunney was strong in North Nanaimo, current cabinet minister John Duncan carried similar weight in Courtenay.
The Conservatives are first out of the gate in the candidate selection process, forgoing any potentially divisive nomination fight by choosing Duncan, who, along with Lunney, was opposed to the way the ridings were shuffled last year.
Some municipal politicians have stepped forward to contend the NDP and Liberal positions on the ballot. Tofino town councillor Gord Johns and Courtenay city councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard say they will seek the nomination, so it looks like there will be a race and an actual nomination meeting for that party.
Parksville city councillor Carrie-Powell Davidson has hooked her wagon to that of Justin Trudeau — she says she will seek the Liberal Party nomination. Candidates often have to be vetted by party head offices before they can even stand for nomination.
To this point in the proceedings, Powell-Davidson has been coy about where she’s at in the process. She also hasn’t said officially whether she will seek a third term as a city councillor, something Parksville voters should know before the municipal campaign carries on much further.
One thing is certain: the ruling party, especially when it has been in office for a couple of terms or more, is the target for all others in the race. That makes sense — they actually have a record of governing to target. We can guess Duncan knows he’s in for a rough ride.
— Editorial by John Harding