Michaels: Lobbyists for change, or for the way it used to be?

Some strategy-minded Kelowna residents are making moves that are bound to spice up municipal politics in the lead up to the Nov. 19 election.

Some strategy-minded Kelowna residents are making moves that are bound to spice up municipal politics in the lead up to the Nov. 19 election.

A group of 10, organized under the moniker fourchange.org, circulated a document to 110 of their friends this week, aimed at rallying support for their cause.

City council, they said in this friendly letter, is fraught with delay and dysfunction and to get things moving forward in a healthy manner, there needs to be an ousting.

In their cross-hairs are Couns. Charlie Hodge, Angela Reid-Nagy, Michele Rule and Kevin Craig.

The group says it supports Couns. Robert Hobson, Andre Blanleil, Luke Stack and Graeme James because they are experienced, effective and share the group’s values.

They also want four more likeminded people to join the change-making fray.

While I’m usually in for a good coup d’etat, the problem with this effort is I suspect the change they’re looking for is more nostalgic than progressive.

Having had the misfortune to sit in on months of council meetings, I can say with some confidence that two of the four in their cross-hairs consistently vote with this group’s preferred half of council. And they’re vocal about why they do so.

Even those of the four I rarely agree with politically, aren’t weak and wishy washy. They all do their homework, and vote along the lines of their constituency, which is why I imagine they were elected in the first place—whether I like it or not.

All told, it makes me wonder if this “fourchange” group is for change, or just for “four more middle aged white guys” and lord knows, that’s hardly a progressive stance.

This isn’t to say gender or age should not be the most important decision maker at the polls, but there needs be a diversity of opinion among our elected officials. And, like it or not, dearly-beloved-middle-aged-white-guys, every level of politics has come to understand that very simple fact.

While civic simmerings are a far cry from what’s happening in the federal arena, you’d be daft to miss the fact that there was a major changing of the guard the last time Canadians went to the polls.

The Liberal party of Canada was decimated and are now devising a strategy that will help them lose the “middle age white guy” stereotype.

Meantime, the NDP are kicking up some excitement and hope for a new day, which is really what’s needed in politics today.

As the young woman applying my facial unpleasantly pointed out this week: “only old people, over the age of 30, are in politics and they don’t represent me.”

Heading into an election that historically lures out less than 20 per cent of the population, I’d hope those who are passionate enough to plan this effort will widen their view beyond four more just like them.

Kathy Michaels is a reporter for the Capital News.





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