Decafnation will offer its recommendations for mayors, council members and regional district rural directors tomorrow, on the first day of advance voting in the 2018 municipal elections. But persuasion is not the objective

 

A gradual decline in daytime temperatures, the return of drizzling skies and a knock on your door by strangers handing you brightly colored brochures can only mean one thing: the fall election season is baaaaack.

Decafnation has met with most candidates running in this year’s elections for council and mayor positions, and tomorrow — the first day of voting at advance polls — we will offer our recommendations.

There is some debate within the journalism profession about the value of political endorsements. Research on the topic is almost non-existent, but some years ago the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that a measly 11 percent said media endorsements played “somewhat” of a role in their voting decision.

But of that 11 percent, about a quarter were mistaken about which candidate their newspaper had actually endorsed.

So, why endorse candidates?

Decafnation has no delusion that people will change their opinion of the candidates after they read our recommendations. Persuasion is not the objective.

Decafnation thinks of itself as a good citizen. We engage in civic affairs. We care. Nearly every week of the year, we offer commentary on topics ranging from how to fix our sewerage and traffic problems to why Justin Trudeau should keep his shirt on.

Wouldn’t it seem odd to suddenly have no opinion whatsoever about the most important event of all: electing our local governments?

But first, let’s be clear about something. Most of the time, Decafnation is me, one person, although Decafnation does have an informal advisory board and a few infrequent contributors.

These endorsements are based on my private meetings with the candidates, one-on-one interviews with them and my own unique vantage point of having covered the issues and the candidates.

I have also reached out for input from leaders of community organizations and other people I respect, including many whose views often run contrary to my own. In that sense, the endorsements are a collective effort.

Decafnation’s recommendations are meant to stimulate interest and debate, and perhaps to help you crystallize your own thoughts, whether you agree or disagree with our choices.

Most importantly, we’re cheerleading for the democratic process and what local elections are really all about: good governance.

 

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