I have a very good friend who lives in the depths of the Annapolis Valley who over the past twelve years has traveled into Halifax with her husband on average twice per month. Every time she is in town, we meet for a coffee, a meal or a run around town shopping. Our conversations are lively, often political and always full of the reality of our lives. She has commented to me on more than one occasion, in a rather blunt tone, “You’ve missed another bullet there ….” Admittedly, the bullet she was referring to was usually a young female with whom I been considering starting a relationship. In every case, she was right.
The bullet I am referring to in this posting is not a young female … it is an election.
Up until 12.00 noon on Tuesday September 9, 2008, I was fully intending to offer myself as a candidate for the position of Counselor of District 10 in this October’s Halifax Municipal Election.
Nevertheless, with the flip of a coin I reversed my decision.
The question is why?
The financial commitment is no longer modest, I budgeted sufficient funds in order to aggressively pursue the opportunity. The combination of personal funds, support from friends, family and supporters would cover the $15,000.00+/- needed to win. However, my decision was not due to the risk of loosing the investment…. I intended on winning.
The time commitment over the next month is huge. District 10 is a geographically large housing 9,700 potential voters, in seven distinct neighborhoods covering all demographic diversities and economic statures. But I’ve covered all this district before while campaigning with the candidates in previous municipal, provincial and federal elections and I actually enjoy the conversation on the door step. Therefore, that was not the reason….
Some would be put off by the idea of speaking in public … not me. I found my public voice years ago & enjoy engaging others in a public form; I would look forward to a lively debate. Therefore, that was not the reason….
I have a profile in this community; I have lived here for 24+ years, and know many of my fellow residents. I am a member of the Clayton Park Liberal Association, Build it Right, Citizens for Halifax, and would have the support from the key members of those groups. My profile would need to become more public than it has been but the idea of being under the magnifying glass is not a deterrent.
I felt I was ready and could honestly see being successful in a well run, open and effective campaign. I was looking forward to the 5-week conversation with the constituents of this riding and had planned to make my cadency official by filing my papers on Friday August 29, 2008.
However, timing is everything… a delay in a client’s payment of fees due to me meant that I delayed my plans until the first of the following week. Over that weekend long talked about rumors of a Federal Election call for this season went from rumor to pending announcement to expected dissolution of Parliament within the week. What a mess….
I took a breath and waited.
By the first of this week, we are faced with both elections taking place within 4 days. Over the next five weeks the 7,000 residences of this district will be attacked by;
- 3 candidates for HRM Council & if I’d have run it would be 4,
- 3 candidates for Mayor of HRM,
- 3 candidates for the Halifax Regional School Board,
- at least 4 may be 5 candidates for the Federal Riding of Halifax Atlantic,
- In addition, do not forget nonstop polling.
Potentially 15 teams of invaders of our privacy… At some point, the electorate gets confused, fed up, annoyed … You get the idea. There will be many annoyed individuals answering doors and or phones.
With all that confusion and static, how do I get my message out to the constituents?
The fight for sign placement will be ridiculous. The candidates for Counsel will be lost in the crowd and not enough time between the Federal Election Day and Municipal Election Day to get the message out.
The reality is that no candidate wins an election by himself… the volunteer base & $$$$ available to HRM campaigns will be diminished by a hectic 30-day federal run… How many times does john q citizen answer the door to yet another person looking for his support before they start the conversation with ……………
Did I duck a bullet? Defiantly!
Do I regret not running? Defiantly!
Did I make the right decision? Time will tell, but for me yes it is the right decision.
Will I consider running again? Defiantly!
Politics is a learning curve. Five years ago, I would never have predicted my current interest in being involved in public life. Then I met Daniel Roukema, his passion for community development, political activism, and of course, his version of Orange Liberalism was infectious. Thank you Daniel!
To all of my friends and supporters, I value your commitment and ongoing support and I will continue building my base with the aim of running four years from now… then again the future could hold a by-election.