It’s just three days before the majority of voters will choose Comox Valley mayors, councils and school trustees, and the silly season is in full swing. Here’s what’s going on …
This story was updated at 7.30 am Oct. 16
Many voters have already cast their ballots for mayors, council members, rural area directors and school district trustees, and advance voting for the Oct. 20 election continues tomorrow, Oct. 17, at various locations.
Meanwhile, here’s some of what’s been going on in the various campaigns.
— People in Courtenay have reported receiving robocalls from the pro-life organization, Campaign Life Coalition, urging support for incumbent Mayor Larry Jangula, who recently participated in an anti-abortion rally.
Jangula told mycomoxvalleynow.com reporter James Wood that the mayor’s pro-life beliefs shouldn’t be an issue in a municipal election. But Jangula also said his beliefs influenced the decisions he makes as an elected official. “Of course they do,” he told Wood.
FURTHER READING: Decafnation’s recommendations for mayors and councils
— The BC Conservative Party appears to have gotten involved in local government elections this year. Two Courtenay residents have reported to Decafnation that they received calls urging voters to support just three candidates: Tom Grant, Murray Presley and Brennan Day.
Decafnation contacted Dick Clancy, a Conservative Party campaign manager and the face of the Comox Valley Taxpayers Association, who was on his way to Alberta. Clancy said the CVTA wasn’t behind the calls and had no knowledge of whether the Conservative Party was making them. He called the reports of calls, “Weird, that’s a new one on me.”
— At the Comox all-candidates meeting Oct. 12, sitting council members Maureen Swift and Russ Arnott, who’s running for mayor this year, tried to punt Comox air quality issues to the Comox Valley Regional District. Asked about banning wood stoves, Swift said the issue was best handled at the regional level.
Swift and Arnott said Comox banned backyard burning 10 years ago, but the CVRD issues 400-500 burning permits a year, suggesting that Area B residents might be a bigger cause of the town’s air quality issues.
But back in 2008, Arnott lead a protest of several hundred people in favor of allowing fires at the CVRD’s Goose Spit regional park, which resides in Area B. The CVRD had proposed banning fires at the park completely. With Arnott’s leadership on the issue, fires are still allowed at the park in specified locations and only with wood supplied by the CVRD parks department.
— Courtenay mayoral candidate Bob Wells has reported that someone supporting Larry Jangula is knocking on doors in East Courtenay telling people that Wells has dropped out of the race. Jangula has denied any involvement.
— Terrance Purden has, in fact, dropped out of the Area C school board trustee race, but it’s too late to take his name off the ballot. Purden has said he’ll resign the office if he’s elected. Purden had taken a position against the province’s curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
— Somebody has vandalized Courtenay council candidate Judi Murakami’s campaign signs. Many of her signs have been reversed and the blank backside covered with the message, “Vote for Jesus, we need a miracle.” It’s not funny to Murakami who paid for the signs to benefit her bid for a council seat.
— Cumberland mayoral candidate Eduardo Uranga has challenged incumbent mayor Leslie Baird to a one-on-one debate, an offer Baird is not likely to accept. Nor should she. Uranga personally attacked Baird in the recent Cumberland all-candidates meeting — some people have suggested it was bullying — which may have further lessened his slim chance of unseating the popular 28-year veteran of public service.
— There’s a rumour going around on social media that Bob Wells and I are related. It’s not true, at least as far as I can determine. Wells took his wife’s family name; it used to be Le Masurier. He changed it, I guess, because he got tired of spelling it and pronouncing it 20 times a day. I can relate to that. But when I moved back to the Valley in 2015, Wells told me he thought we might be related. I had never heard of him before that day, so I checked with my sister, who is the genealogist in our family. She could find no intersection between the two Le Masurier families.