Thank You! Here's What The Campaign Accomplished

First the good news…

More than 5,000 people voted for me.

The bad news - I needed another 4,000 plus votes in order to be elected.

And now the great news. I don't just want to thank all of you for your support, I want to let all of you know a few of the things that this campaign accomplished.

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Endorsed by Labour

When I was asked why I was hoping the Victoria Labour Council would endorse me I wasn’t sure what the interview panel would do with my answer, but I suspected it wasn’t one they’d heard before.

While I’ve run my own production company for over thirty years, less than a year after graduating from the University of Victoria, I risked my life to start a union. I was working at the Williams Lake Tribune and… well… I could write a book about what happened there. And I did.

While I suspected that answer was an attention getter I was still certain that I was not going to get the Labour Council’s endorsement. I’d assumed that to get any endorsement from any organization you’d have to pledge something or maybe offer up a first-born child.

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Livable Cities and the Problem with Scrapping Parking Minimums

So let’s talk about parking - and why I think it’s important to provide it.
Livable Victoria is a great group and I love the work they’re doing. While I’m sorry I didn’t make their list of recommended candidates, if you read all the survey results it appears the reason I didn’t make the cut is that I answered “disagree” to the following question: "Removing minimum parking requirements for new housing.”
I thought it was worth sharing the reason I gave - and will continue to give - regarding why I disagree with that here.
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What do you consider Saanich's most valuable natural assets?

Natural Assets Management starts from the premise that our natural resources - water, forests, soil, wildlife - should be assigned a value the same way we place a value on highways, stop signs and trucks.

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Rural Saanich Voters' AGM - Where I Was

When I heard there was an all-candidates meeting scheduled for Yom Kippur, I immediately contacted the organizers to let them know I could not attend. Not going to the synagogue to observe the holiest day of the Jewish year - after two years of praying on Zoom -was never an option.

Imagine for a moment how candidates - and voters - would have reacted to an all-candidates meeting being scheduled on Easter Sunday.

I get that most non-Jews don’t understand the significance of Yom Kippur, and was deeply concerned by the possibility of anyone in rural Saanich not understanding why I wasn’t at their only all-candidates event and feeling disrespected.

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Karma

Half of my experience with politics has been making fun of it.

I wrote, produced and performed in the first live show at the Roxy Cinegogue – now the Bluebridge – Escape From Fantasy Gardens. The satirical revue – which ran for about six months in Vancouver and was covered by The National – mocked the first and, so far only, Canadian premier to preside over a province from a biblical theme park.

I wrote satirical columns about BC politics for newspapers and magazines across Canada – including Monday Magazine, where I occasionally scored the coveted back page.

My political comedy landed me a gig writing a couple of Press Gallery speeches for then NDP leader, Alexa McDonough – a job I almost turned down until I discovered that all of the press gallery speeches were written by comedy writers a lot more famous than I was.

My comedy duo, Local Anxiety, debuted at an event that was raising money to convince more women to get involved with politics.

Why were two dudes the headline act at an event for women in politics? It was the 1990s.

The keynote speaker was Deputy Prime Minister, Sheila Copps, who took the lyrics from one of my songs and paraphrased them in parliament a few days later to call Preston Manning a racist.

I wrote about that in The Little Book of Reform.

I produced, wrote and performed an annual satirical revue at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver where I’d invite BC’s top newsmakers to join us on stage. I never imagined they’d say yes until federal Conservative leader Kim Campbell – who had been in hiding since her party was decimated in the election – agreed to make her first public appearance on stage with Local Anxiety.

Her guest spot made international news and, after that, I convinced NDP MP Svend Robinson to join us on stage just after he got out of jail for protesting logging at Clayoquot Sound. I convinced him to wear an old-fashioned chain gang outfit, complete with handcuffs.

Hanging out with then MP Svend Robinson

When Local Anxiety performed at the MacPherson Playhouse we convinced BC’s most controversial/infamous political power couple – Gordon Wilson and Judi Tyabji – to join us on stage.

Local Anxiety was hired to perform for and make fun of every major political party in Canada. I’m still in contact with several of the politicians who I mocked. I’ve even asked a few of them for advice.  So… among the many reasons I’m running for… Saanich Council… Karma.

And hoping I do something worth making fun of.

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Why I declined to complete the Homes for Living survey

One of the most important issues for the people of Saanich - and one of the most important issues for me - is affordability. So I wanted to explain why I declined to complete the Homes for Living survey: Housing Survey - 2022 Election.

I did complete the entire survey - but refused to answer several yes or no questions that I do not believe have yes or no answers .

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Doing the Homework & Asking Experts

As a writer, I'm all about doing my homework: digging for facts and listening to the experts.  Here's how that has helped me prepare for the job of Saanich Municipal Councillor.

 

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Changing Lanes and Changing Lives

So much of my life - and so many of my values - are connected to my time as a rookie reporter in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

Watching one of the 2018 Saanich all-candidates debates I had a full-on flashback to a school board meeting I covered a long time ago in Williams Lake, BC and thought... yeah... this is why local governments are vital. They can save lives. They change lives.

Sharing a chapter from Never Shoot a Stampede Queen.

 

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Why Politics?

When people first started asking me why I was running for Saanich Council, I assumed they were asking why I wanted to be a Saanich Councillor.

Nope.

This was before I went public and before almost anyone was thinking about BC municipal elections. So when I started to mention housing; my students sleeping in cars; trees; transit or being inspired by my stint on Saanich's Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee it became clear this wasn’t what most of them were wondering about.

The question wasn’t why I wanted to run for council, it was “Why politics?" 

Sometimes they didn’t even bother to ask that question and just skipped straight to asking whether I’d lost my mind. “Politics? In 2022?”

Why would anyone want to get into politics in a time when facts are treated as fluid, social media is progressively more anti-social and civility seems positively retro?

Before jumping into the water I reached out to several current Saanich councillors for advice and was able to meet with a couple of them. They reassured me that while there were certainly challenges that – for the most part - Saanich is civil.

I rewatched the 2018 all-candidates meetings – and scoped the social media feeds of every sitting councillor – and was surprised and relieved that even the most passionate arguments generally seemed thoughtful and respectful.

Seeing that made me even more grateful that I live here and even more determined to run.

I'm not a big Twitter fan and figured I’d be more likely to see the Cadborosaurus than friendly Twitter feeds.

And I love that unlike Vancouver and Victoria… Saanich councillors are only responsible to the voters, not to parties.

Before deciding to run I also connected with several friends who served as councillors in various parts of BC. I asked if they thought this was a job I could do well – and whether I’d regret jumping into this strange pool in these challenging times. All of them encouraged me to run. Several donated to my campaign as soon as this site went up.

I also asked for their advice on how councils can improve the lives of the people in their communities. And I warned them that, if I’m fortunate enough to get elected, I’ll keep asking them questions for as long as they’ll keep answering them.

When I went public about my plans and the questions shifted from “why politics” to “why Saanich council” I realized that my answer to both questions is the same. I want to do more. And I hope you'll give me that opportunity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

And please save one vote for Mark Leiren-Young for Saanich Council and CRD.

https://www.mlysaanich.com/ 

 

 

 

 

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