They’re a team. They’re a loose affiliation. They’re a group of like-minded individuals.
But according to a group of candidates for Campbell River city council, they’re not a slate.
A slate can have a bad connotation in municipal politics – implying a common platform and voting as a block, for example – and that’s not what mayoral candidate Kermit Dahl and council candidates Doug Chapman, Ron Kerr, Ben Lanyon, Susan Sinnott and Sean Smyth intend.
“Simply, there is no slate,” Dahl said. “There’s a group of like-minded people that want to see solutions to our problems and make Campbell River the place that it used to be. When we’re seeing all these stabbings downtown and three police shootings in less than 12 months, things are getting out of control here.”
Dahl said there is a lack of leadership on issues with people saying that it’s not their job.
“It might not be our job but no one else is doing it,” Dahl said. “So, we need to figure out what we can do.”
The Mirror has been approached by members of the public expressing concern about what they called a slate and there has been some discussion on social media about the possibility.
Lanyon also used the term like-minded to describe their group.
“So, you have basically a like-minded sort of approach on certain things,” he said. “It’s a loose affiliation, that of people that we know can work well together.”
Lanyon said they have identified three priorities: the downtown situation with homelessness and what’s described often as lawlessness; leadership that restores morale at City Hall and that helps with the third issue, efficiency.
Chapman was emphatic in his rejection of the term slate.
“That’s a false accusation,” he said. “And I say that because no one is going to tell me what to say or what to think and then, what to do. We are a group who are like-minded. We don’t agree on everything. We have the ability to come to solutions that are going benefit the community.”
Chapman said they do agree on such issues as getting back to “some basic financial planning, living within our means.” For example, he said there are over 700 subdivision applications awaiting approval, some dating back to 2017.
“We believe that is unacceptable,” he said. “We need to get these properties developed and that would go a long way to alleviating the housing shortage in Campbell River.”
One of the concerns about the group has been an association made to a Facebook page called Campbell River Freedom. The principals of the page had organized a “meet and greet” with candidates for Saturday, Oct. 8 which was cancelled. The only candidates advertised as attending were the Dahl, et al., group.
Chapman said they told the organizer that it’s not a public meeting if it doesn’t involve all candidates and they were not interested.
Lanyon said they have no affiliation with anything connected to the Campbell River Freedom page. He believes everybody should be heard, regardless of what their views are, but he is not interested in anything that would be considered racist or extreme.
Chapman said his group would be transparent with its workings on council – he expressed a dislike for the tendency for council to go in-camera too often – and it would broaden consultation in the community and particularly extend it to neighbouring First Nations communities.