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Saanich election results

Congratulations to Richard Atwell, mayor-elect of Saanich. The next four years in Saanich will be a time of rapid progress in terms of open government, particularly with several new candidates (Colin Plant and Fred Haynes) getting elected to council.

And thank you to Frank Leonard for nearly three decades of public service as councillor and then mayor of Saanich. There are a number of areas where I disagree with Frank Leonard, but there is no doubt that he has made enormous contributions to Saanich over the years.

Saanich municipal election results 2014

Richard Atwell vs. Frank Leonard in Saanich

I have been following the Saanich mayoral election closely – Richard Atwell is mounting a strong challenge against Frank Leonard. There are definitely some things happening on the ground. The traditional media in Victoria has not picked up on it, or perhaps there is a bit of wilful blindness. I can’t predict the future but consider these factors:

- Think about the massive neighbourhood turnout for the press conference at the Alberg cattle farm, supported by Richard Atwell.

- Over 120 people showed up at the first Town Hall organized by Richard Atwell for new council and mayoral candidates.

- Over 200 people showed up at the second new candidates Town Hall in Gordon Head.

- Richard Atwell has run a very effective sign campaign, Leonard not so much. In fact Leonard seems to be treating this as an acclamation and has not been putting a lot of visible effort into his campaign.

- Atwell has run a non-partisan campaign that has drawn in voters from across the political spectrum.

- People are frustrated with the sewage file, the messed up “amalgamation” question on the Saanich ballot, the forced library move, etc.

- Voter fatigue is a factor. Frank Leonard has been in office for almost thirty years. Some feel that he has had his time and perhaps become a bit too entitled. Saanich News expressed this well, the newspaper called for the “mayoral throne” to be removed from Saanich Municipal Hall. Leonard’s attendance record at the CRD has been very poor.

- There are four or five strong new candidates for Saanich Council (Colin Plant, Marsha Henderson, Fred Haynes, Rebecca Mersereau, Shawn Newby). These challengers have attracted a lot of new voters in Saanich. Many of them will vote for Richard Atwell for mayor for the same reason they decided to vote for a new candidate (they want change).

Saturday, November 15th (tomorrow) is municipal election day. Click here to find out where you can vote in Saanich.

Voter turnout in Victoria, Saanich and Esquimalt

CHEK News has a good story on voter turnout on southern Vancouver Island. Municipal voter turnout for the advance polls is up in Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich.

It seems clear that something very significant is happening in Saanich this election. Voter turnout at the advance polls was more than any other municipality on Vancouver Island:

Advance poll voter turnout is up significantly in Saanich

Open letter to voters in Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt and Colwood

This letter is making the rounds on social media so I am posting it in full…

Open Letter to Voters in the Capital Region:

We, the undersigned candidates for office on November 15, have found strong concerns amongst the public over issues that can only be effectively addressed by acting together as a region. Engagement is high. Dissatisfaction around regional issues is constantly expressed. Amalgamation is on the ballot in eight of the thirteen municipalities in the region.

If elected, we all pledge to do our utmost to improve collaboration between municipalities, at the citizen, staff, and political levels, starting immediately.

Regional collaboration is vital for solutions and success in many areas that require urgent attention: sewage, transportation, regional economic development, housing, and policing.

We have agreed on four foundations of effective collaboration that we are pledged to follow and to be held to account:

1. Meaningful public participation before decisions are made.
2. Transparency and open access to complete information.
3. “Facts over fear” in communication.
4. Respect for all the players, rather than personal attacks and entrenchment on positions.

Collaborative approaches based on these foundations are the only ways to build consensus and take effective action to address regional issues and make the most of our opportunities.

We will recognize and not dismiss the votes cast on November 15, on amalgamation. There is a need to examine how we govern our region.

We invite all other candidates in the region to sign on with this, our pledge to the voters.

Sincerely,

Barb DesJardins (Esquimalt)
Beth Burton-Krahn (Esquimalt)
Susan Low (Esquimalt)

Lisa Helps (Victoria)
Justin Stephenson (Victoria)

Richard Atwell (Saanich)
Marsha Henderson (Saanich)

Carol Hamilton (Colwood)

Remembrance Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina

I have an interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina as several family members live there.  Today this wreath was laid at Camp Butmir in Sarajevo:

A memorial wreath laid at Camp Butmir in Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 11, 2014 (photo by Rohan Maxwell).

A memorial wreath laid at Camp Butmir in Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 11, 2014 (photo by Rohan Maxwell).

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