Nanaimo and Duncan labour council endorses like-minded candidates

District labour council eyeing upcoming local government election

With the municipal election coming Oct. 20, the Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council endorses municipal and school trustee candidates it thinks aligns with its values.

People who seek the backing of the council, which represents 13,000 unionized workers in the area, must fill out a questionnaire and have an interview, according to Ellen Oxman, council president. From that, the council can get a feel for the candidate’s priorities and how they will handle the job. Oxman said public education, public services, concerns for social housing, minimum wage and living wage are among values it promotes.

“Members of labour council are citizens in our communities and we’re voters, so every citizen, when they go to the voting booth, decides to support somebody who feels the way they do,” said Oxman. “Not everybody shares our values, our priorities and that’s their right and those that don’t will vote for people that we don’t endorse. But we hope to raise some awareness in the community that these are people that we feel we can count on them, we can look to them.

“They’ve made a commitment. It’s part of their platform, so we can hold them to account as well, so we feel comfortable putting our name against their campaign.”

Heading into the election, there are a number of issues the council is concerned about, including city council dysfunction, according to Oxman.

“Depending if you’re looking at municipal Nanaimo, obviously it’s been in the news, the council and the fact that they are not a cohesive working group … so we’re obviously looking for people who can work with other people and can see a big picture goal as opposed to, maybe just their own personal goals,” said Oxman.

Homelessness is another issue, especially with Discontent City, Oxman said.

“We want to make sure that there is affordable housing, that’s a huge issue for people,” said Oxman. “Good jobs being generated, transportation. Opportunities really, but certainly public housing, affordable housing has come to the forefront for the City of Nanaimo.”

Council holding Labour Day picnic in Ladysmith

As is tradition, Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council will hold its Labour Day Picnic on Monday, Sept. 3.

The council’s 60th anniversary Labour Day Picnic takes place at Transfer Beach at Ladysmith from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be food and a bouncy castle.

“We started in 1958, so it’s a big year for us. We’re very proud of it,” Oxman said.

RELATED: Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

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