The clock is ticking, and voters in three ridings served by the Peace Arch News face a plethora of choices for the coming May 2 federal election.
At last count, Fleetwood-Port Kells voters had four candidates, Newton-North Delta had six and South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale had a whopping nine. Now that the Elections Canada deadline for filing as a candidate has passed, it ought to be a fast and furious campaign with less than three weeks left to go.
Yet, come election day, voters could be forgiven if, once again, the familiar names rank high in the polls. After all, the question must be asked – who are these other contenders? And what issues are they prepared to raise, in a matter of days remaining, to steal the spotlight and earn their Xs on the ballot?
We must count ourselves mystified by those candidates in the past who seemed to feel that – to connect in a meaningful way with voters – its simply enough to purchase a bundle of signs and leaflets with their name prominent and photo to the fore. Some even seemed to be under the delusion that anonymity and inaccessibility is the best route to success.
Campaigning is a tough, costly and time-consuming business of making friends and allies, and, ultimately getting oneself known as somebody worthy of a vote.
Some current candidates started the process weeks – even months – before the ballot was dropped. It could be argued that at least one incumbent has been in constant campaign mode ever since he came to office.
This is not the time to sit back with arms crossed, waiting for signs and campaign literature to take effect.
The electorate needs and deserves candidates who are willing to identify and address real issues facing people trying to make ends meet, support families and enhance opportunities in our present economy.
Opponent-bashing, by itself, will not be enough.
Candidates should seize the initiative and convince us that they are ready and willing to make a difference. What are the candidates’ expectations of their own performance – and of their leaders, for those running in packs? Or are they simply running, with no thought of winning, placing or, even, showing.
While odds may be stacked against some, all candidates should be willing and ready to run the race to their fullest ability – or step aside for those who are.
Otherwise they are wasting their time – and yours.