So you want to run for Council…

Before you throw your hat into the ring, here are a few tips for candidates, rounded up by the news team at the Townsman/Bulletin.

Carolyn Grant

The municipal elections are in far-off November. I don’t even want to think of the cold and snow of November yet. Please, we haven’t even had the scorching heat of summer.

But, we must think of November because of said elections. Local politicos are already thinking of it. We have two candidates already declared — Mayor Wayne Stetski in Cranbrook and Councillor Darryl Oakley in Kimberley will both run again. And more will be announcing in the weeks to come. Incumbents and new candidates alike will come forward.

But before you throw your hat into the ring, here are a few tips for candidates, rounded up by the news team at the Townsman/Bulletin offices. We’ve all been watching local politics for a long time, some of us longer than others. In any event, having personally sat through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours of Council meetings over the past almost 15 years, I’d like to dole out some free advice to those thinking of running.

Don’t run promising open government and better communication

How many candidates have we seen over the years making the promise that under their watch there will be a better flow of information from City Hall to city citizen? And yet when they get into office they quickly realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes there are legal reasons why a lot of information cannot be released. Sometimes there are other hurdles. Sure, almost every city hall in the province could probably do a better job of communicating, but don’t walk in thinking you’re going to be able to make drastic changes in that regard.

Don’t run for Council thinking

you’ll be popular

You won’t be. Not only will you not be popular, you will be accosted by phone, email and in person by citizens unhappy with taxes, potholes, taxes, sidewalks, taxes, arenas, taxes, snow removal and taxes. You will find that you can’t go out in public without someone bringing up something they are unhappy with and expecting you to fix it.

Which leads us to point 3;

Don’t run if you are overly

sensitive to criticism

You will be criticized. You will likely be called names. Developing a thick skin and a high tolerance for taking abuse, and not responding in a snippy manner, is a vital skill. Those in public service must maintain a calm about them in the face of some pretty nasty comments. It’s not all bad, but as is true almost everywhere, you hear more from angry people than those happy with you.

Don’t run expecting

to bring massive change

A local government can have very little effect on the overall economy, so don’t make any promises in that regard. Municipalities are not able to offer tax incentives to business. Certainly a city can do what it can to tempt business by promoting itself as a great place to live, but a local government’s job is to manage the budget and provide infrastructure and services to its citizens. In addition, you, as an individual mayor or councillor must work with the other members of council in order to get anything done. Majority rules, compromise is the order of the day and change comes slowly. As Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski said, the greatest thing he learned in his first term was patience.

Don’t run if you’ve never been to a Council meeting or a budget meeting

If you can’t sit through three hours of bylaws and financial minutiae, this is not the job for you. Because there will be meetings. And more meetings. Hours of meetings every week. There is so much to learn about government process that many newly elected councillors say it takes half the first term just to get up to speed.

Have we scared you off yet? We hope not because municipalities rely on people who care, who love their communities, to step up and take on the often thankless job of Mayor or Councillor. Luckily for Kimberley and Cranbrook, there never seems to be a shortage of those people. Good luck to you all in the fall.

Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the

Kimberley Daily Bulletin

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Most Read