B.C. municipalities go to the polls to elect new city councils, school boards, and mayors on Oct 15—in fact, mail-in ballots and advance voting have already begun.
Local civic elections represent residents’ best chance to have a direct impact on their day-to-day lives—far more than provincial or federal equivalents. And yet, ironically, they habitually attract much lower voter turnouts. This is especially true for school trustees, which fly under the radar of most fly under the radar of most voters—particularly if they don’t have kids in the school system.
This election, however, voters have a big reason to pay attention: there is a slate of far-right, anti-trans candidates trying to get elected to school boards as part of a larger, coordinated strategy to gain a foothold on local politics. District 61, which covers all of Victoria and much of the peninsula, has a budget of over $250 million—so it’s our obligation to make sure that money is spent responsibly and ethically, and that our schools continue to protect trans youth from bullying and harassment.
But with B.C.’s at-large electoral system, the task of picking eight councillors out of 37 candidates in Victoria alone, and nine trustees out of 30 can seem overwhelming.
The CCFA is not endorsing candidates (although we should disclose that CCFA Member-at-Large Keith Yacucha is running for city council in Langford as part of the Langford Now slate), but we’ve gathered a few resources that should help you make a decision based on your personal priorities.
The Victoria Labour Council has endorsed a slate of labour-friendly candidates of council, school board, and mayor, based on a self-selecting survey.
Affordable and available housing is one of the biggest issues facing the GVRD right now, with rents and home prices skyrocketing and the vacancy rate hovering around 0%. A grassroots organization called Homes for Living has published its opinion on housing-friendly candidates across the region, largely focusing on questions of supply and the Missing Middle Housing Initiative.
The Victoria Climate Action Team, a sub-committee of local climate advocacy group Dogwood B.C., has also made endorsements for the City of Victoria’s council and mayor.
Finally, for one of the most complete recommendations for school board, you can find the Greater Victoria Teachers Association’s picks here.
Of course, the most important thing to do is vote! You don’t have to vote for all available positions: just pick the ones you’re sure you want. Municipal elections have an immediate impact on our communities, our infrastructure, our local institutions, and our daily lives.
Make sure you have a say in the future Victoria you want!
Member at Large, CCFA Executive
Michael Stewart teaches literature, composition, and creative writing in the English Department at Camosun College. He is the former Opinions Editor for rabble.ca, a PhD quitter, and union thug.
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