It’s accurate to say that Nanaimo voted for an NDP MLA as mayor. But party politics won’t necessarily have a place around the city council table.
As the City of Nanaimo elected a mayor and a mostly new group of councillors on Saturday, there were some common themes among the candidates.
When it comes to political leanings, we can draw some conclusions, but we’ll have to wait and see until the voting starts to happen around the council table. It’s great if council gets along and finds consensus, but we also hope there’s enough of a range of viewpoints so as to create the discussion and debate that’s often necessary to arrive at good decisions.
That said, left-right leanings are an oversimplification and rarely relevant in Nanaimo city politics where our councillors all effectively sit as independents. Leonard Krog, mayor-elect, said more than once during the election campaign that part of the appeal of civic politics was the chance to get away from the arguments for the sake of arguments that happen in the B.C. legislature. Furthermore, not only are our city councillors free from party affiliation, but they’re presumably independent thinkers who will vote according to their own values and based on the best information they have.
A council that’s free of divisions is united, and if councillors are working together, it’s probably going to be in the best interests of Nanaimo. The regional district board table, for example, is an opportunity for a bloc of eight Nanaimo directors to hold sway.
Our elected councillors bring diversity in some ways. If their leanings don’t suit citizens, Nanaimo will let them know – after all, we’re paying pretty close attention to municipal politics these days.