As every Canucks fan knows, some years are better than others in the NHL draft.
Sometimes there’s depth there — lots of talent to choose from.
That is not the case this election for Squamish.
Now, hold up — we are not saying those vying for a seat in chambers, the school board, or the SLRD are not worthy, capable, knowledgeable candidates. They are.
But if you have a choice out of 20 or a choice from 10, there’s a difference.
There’s less choice.
And this isn’t only a Squamish problem.
According to reporting by CBC's Justin McElroy, there are currently 3,209 folks running for local government office in B.C. That is the lowest number of candidates since 2008.
In at least one town, councillors must be appointed by those elected because not enough players laced up.
In the District, we have three mayoral candidates to choose from. (In 37 B.C. towns, the mayor candidate ran unopposed, McElroy notes.) There are 10 people running for six councillor chamber seats in the District.
We had one person run to be an Area D director on the SLRD, and three people run for three available school board seats.
There’s not a lot of there, there.
Tony Rainbow, the director for Area D, ran unopposed. He is a dedicated and knowledgeable director who is extremely well-qualified for the job.
But even if he is the best choice out of 10 or 100, the fact that he is the only one running is problematic.
One contributing factor playing out off the ice (outside of chambers and the board room) is the level of abuse local officials face. It was a topic of discussion among politicians at the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler.
Premier John Horgan told reporters it makes him sad so many folks don’t want to serve their communities due to bullying.
“It concerns me greatly,” he said in a press conference. “It should concern all compassionate, thoughtful citizens.”
Rainbow told The Squamish Chief he thinks the pay is too low for the average person to run. SLRD directors make $30,000 a year, and the position, if done well, is almost a full-time job.
School board trustees make about $13,000 per year.
Rainbow said that, unless someone is retired or independently wealthy, holding office is a financial sacrifice that is too much for many.
A demographic of leaders who don’t have to worry about money is not the most representative, now is it?
Again, we will say it aloud for the folks at the back of the arena — not that the candidates we have aren’t qualified, great candidates.
But if democracy is the league and the game is politics, our bench is not as deep as it could have been.
It is what it is, and we have the choices we do.
Mad respect for every single person who put their name forward this election. Thank goodness for you!
The question is, though, how do we increase the number of picks we may have in the next draft?