It was just another question, pretty much a softball to the candidates up on the stage, but it hit me personally as I typed away on the sidelines.
What, the questioner wanted to know, is your experience and how does it relate to your candidacy for council? Predictably, the two mayoral and nine councillor candidates used it as an opportunity to reiterate their CV and then move on.
I didn’t. I couldn’t. What, I wondered, would I say if I were to be asked about my own experience in electoral politics? Do I have the experience with the sometimes infighting and dirty dealings of the political realm to really capture the shenanigans?
Well, what if I told you I had come out victorious after a protracted election battle and my tactical prowess had actually made a president?
It happened in Fort St. James, at a chamber of commerce meeting, their AGM, something I had been looking forward to for quite a while. The chamber always put on a good spread and their free monthly dinners formed a crucial part of my overall diet. For an AGM I knew they would go all out.
Before we could get to the good part though, there were speeches to endure, along with the election of a new board of directors.
It went pretty well though and I was delighted to see my buddy Charlotte, who ran a picture framing business in the same building as the Caledonia Courier office, put her name in for the board. Almost all the positions were filled, except for one director. There just wasn’t anyone willing.
“Fine,” the outgoing president said, breaking the silence at last. “We’ll deal with this after dinner.”
The food lived up to its billing and soon I was nicely bloated and a little bit tipsy.
Eventually the evening came to a close, the president stood up and thanked everyone for coming.
My hand went up.
“What about the last director?” I asked. “You said you were going to deal with it after dinner.”
There was a pause and then he smiled. “Looks like we have a volunteer!”
I looked at Charlotte, eyes wide. She was laughing.
“Welcome aboard!” she said.
I was trapped and there was nowhere to hide.
I learned something that night about politics, something I actually got to use it just one week later, when the new board of the Fort St. James Chamber of Commerce sat down for our first lunch meeting.
The main item on the agenda was to pick a president from among our ranks.
Sizing up my competition, I came up with a plan.
“Let’s think about this over lunch,” I said as I checked out the menu and saw that the special included broccoli. Eeeeeexcellent!
Sure enough, Charlotte ordered the special. Minutes later, everything was set.
You see, in politics it’s important to know the people you’re up against and I knew lots about Charlotte, including the fact that she wore dentures.
I waited until she had a big mouthful of broccoli.
“Let’s deal with this president thing,” I said, timing my words carefully. “I nominate … Charlotte!”
“Einghph!” she bubbled greenly, chewing like mad. “Mmmmph!”
“All those in favour?”
The hands flew up.
“Carried. Congratulations!” I said and gave her a big wink. “Welcome aboard.”
I rest my case.