May 01, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

My life in crime…er, I mean politics 

A peek behind the signs of an election

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At the very least, I hope this reawakens your political awareness and helps you become more politically engaged and active. For the only real crime I see as far as politics is concerned is that most people aren't taking part in our democracy.

 

Crossing the line in the sand

So how do you cross over into the "shadowy" world and become a political candidate?

It's pretty basic. If you're a Canadian citizen, over 18 on election day, lived in B.C. more than six months and have not been disqualified from voting you get yourself down to your city hall, at least in the case of civic elections, some two to four weeks before the 10-day nomination period begins and get your nomination package.

Your package contains all the practical information you need to know about being nominated and running as a candidate. But the critical bit is the nomination papers. All you need are people who are qualified to vote in the jurisdiction you're going to run in to nominate you. The number can vary from two to 25; in my case it was two.

Their statement of nomination simply declares that to the best of their knowledge you are qualified to hold local government office in B.C.

How simple is that? Still, I was amazed how much weight people placed on who signed their papers. That's politics for you. Some candidates just went for their parents or friends, which was sweet, but others went for people with clout, the local legends, the bastions of the community, like they were branding themselves by association

One person wouldn't sign my papers because he'd already signed someone else's - not that it mattered legally or to me, but it mattered in his mind. Another wouldn't sign mine for fear she would politicize herself. In the end, I got caught up in the symbolism, too, for I went for two women, one a well-respected businesswoman and the other one of my oldest friends. I'm not sure it meant anything to anyone other than myself, though.

For the provincial election, the nominating process is almost as simple - you can download your nomination package at www.elections.bc.ca. More permutations arise at the provincial level. For instance, you have to include a $250 deposit and, unless we get in BC-STV which will de-emphasize partisan politics, you'll likely want to be a party candidate.

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