The municipal campaigns in Selwyn and elsewhere are now underway. Mercifully, though, we’ll not see or hear much until after Labour Day. Selwyn is like all municipalities in that staff has informed candidates of the rules regarding fundraising, where to place signs, and more. But perhaps we could make the experience a little more valuable for everyone if all Ontario’s municipal candidates considered obeying these five additional rules:
- Don’t call us voters or taxpayers. We are citizens. Citizenship is a profound concept that informs our collective identity, individual rights, and responsibilities to others. Don’t cheapen citizenship’s nobility by confusing it with voting and paying taxes. They are but two of its duties.
- Don’t offer false choices. The most obvious example is the old chestnut of picking either a thriving economy or environmental sustainability. Respected scientists, economists, and urban planners have argued for years that we’ll have both or neither.
- If you say something brilliant or dumb or contradict a previously stated stand, social media will instantly let us know. Admit mistakes, apologize when you should, and insist that sometimes more information leads to a more nuanced and perhaps different point of view. We’re grown-ups. We’ll understand.
- Don’t underestimate us. Kim Campbell once said that campaigns are not a time to discuss complicated issues. She was wrong. Trust our intelligence and attention spans by engaging us with complex ideas and grand visions. We just may surprise you.
- Don’t forget character. Leadership is about character. In fact, in the final analysis, that’s all it’s about. Show it. We’ll recognize it. We’ll reward it.
I am a candidate for Selwyn Township’s Lakefield Ward. I will, of course, follow the Township’s written rules. When asking for support in the soon-to-commence campaign, however, I will also obey the additional five.
(Please check that you are registered to vote. If you would like to support or even help with my campaign, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)