It is mid July and we have three confirmed vacancies on Victoria City Council. These three openings, and the self destruction of the VCE, means that we have a fairly open race for council.
In 2005 there were two open positions on council from the move of Denise Savoie to Ottawa and Rob Flemming in the legislature. Both of them were VCE councilors and the VCE should have been able to retain those two spots last time, but due to a very weak and lack luster campaign, the VCE did not retain their spots and went as far as to decline into death.
The one impact of the VCE in the 2005 election was that by running six candidates they sucked up a lot of votes. The majority of people in municipal elections vote a full complement and chose not to plump their ballot so with six candidates the VCE tied up a large block of votes. With only one person identifiable as VCE running for council in 2008 - Pam Madoff - there are a lot of votes being released for others to attract, especially anyone on the left or the Greens.
Along with the loss of the NDP farm team in Victoria(part of the larger decline and fall of the NDP across BC), there will only be a maximum of five incumbents running for office. This will free up even more votes. Helen Hughes and Bea Holland have a high name recognition and a following from across the spectrum.
2008 marks the most open election in a long time for the city of Victoria. This is the election to run if you want to get elected because it is not going to be this easy for a very, very long time if ever again.
If you are interested in getting elected, you need to put your name for this election.
As to those that ask me from time to time if I will run, the answer is no. I can not afford to sit on city council for the small amount of pay involved.
Getting elected in Victoria is all about some sort of name recognition in the absence of any party identifier on the ballot, this is why incumbents are almost impossible to defeat. I suspect the Greens will be the only party name on the ballot and I predict that the they will manage to elect 2 or 3 people council. A result like that should push the NDP to re-form locally and should push the business community to create an NPA equivalent here in Victoria.