OUR VIEW: Candidates deserve our gratitude for their community spirit

Telling you how to vote creates perceptions of bias

Don’t look to the Sooke News Mirror to endorse any candidates running in the municipal or school board elections. It’s not that we don’t like any of the candidates who are running for office, or that we don’t think that elections are important.

It’s not our job to tell you how to vote. We work for readers, not candidates. Research tells us that readers don’t find endorsements to be valuable and some even find the practice insulting.

What we will do is thank all the candidates for offering their time to public office. It takes great courage to put your name before the electorate.

Campaigning means a lot of work and money.

These candidates risk a lot when they decide to run for a seat on city council or school board. It’s not as if they’re going to be paid an exorbitant rate even if they win.

Trustees make $15,000. The chair earns a little more. Councillors are paid an annual honourarium of $10,160. The mayor earned $20,320 in 2017.

However, there must be something fulfilling to the job because there are a number of incumbents trying for another term.

If candidates have the fortune – or misfortune – to win, politicians are the brunt of constant criticism. The media criticizes them and people on the street talk about them as though they have no brains. Rarely do they get a pat on the back. It’s got to be disheartening.

Whether or not you agree with their positions on the issues, remember these people are offering their time and energy to carry out a community service. Probably there is little ego involved, but a little ego never hurt anyone. It helps push people to the forefront and in the case of municipal politics, take on a lot of extra work.

Councillors and trustees give considerable hours to their jobs. They don’t just attend one meeting a week. They are asked to sit on all kinds of other committees as well as attend various community functions.

Then there is all the home work they must do in advance of a meeting if they are doing their job properly.

It’s a huge commitment of time and instead of finding negative things to say about these candidates who have stepped forward this campaign, we should be congratulating them for their community spirit.


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