My commitment issues…with political parties

For this week’s update, I want to clear the air on something I’m been asked about a lot - my political party affiliation. Here’s my response: I am a non-partisan candidate. I think my reasons for this are important, and I want to share them with you.

I have actually never been a member of any political party, despite the fact I have been fortunate enough to be asked to run in provincial and federal campaigns, for three different parties. The possibility of being an effective, independent elected official is a huge part of the draw to municipal politics for me, second only to the enormous potential it has to effect lasting and meaningful change for communities. Municipal councils are the last bastion of non-partisan politics (in this region at least), and I want to see it stay that way.

In my view, party affiliations can cause divided loyalties. It’s quite apparent that it can be challenging to simultaneously serve the public interest and a party’s more short-term, strategic interests. I value the freedom to evaluate issues and decisions on the basis of their merits, rather than be forced into compromises that are derived from political calculus. Notwithstanding all of this, I fully appreciate the need for and understand the value of party organization at higher levels of government.

As a result of taking this less-common approach, some people seem to have a hard time accepting that I am truly non-partisan. I recognize this comes from the need that many of us have to put people into tidy boxes, but I’m very difficult to pigeonhole. I’m deeply concerned about the environment, yet fiscal management is a top priority for me, as is ensuring Saanich is a friendly, vibrant, and competitive place to do business. I consider myself to be a balanced and well-rounded candidate, and I believe that’s what we need in Saanich right now.

Before signing off, I want to directly address the most common perception I’ve heard so far: this is not a “shadow” Green Party campaign. The reality is that my campaign has multi-partisan support. Yes, some members of my team work for or have worked on Green Party campaigns in the past. Others have previous involvement with the NDP and the Liberals. You should know, if you don’t already, that there is not a readily-available pool of willing and experienced non-partisan campaign organizers out there. I am incredibly grateful that these people, whatever their political stripe, have stepped forward to support me and my effort to be elected to Saanich Council.