Waters: FourChange.org out of the gate with only half its job done

Elections are about choices, and often the choice of who to vote for centres on who you do not want to vote for.

Elections are about choices, and often the choice of who to vote for centres on who you do not want to vote for.

Don’t want the Liberal to win, vote for the Conservative, the NDPer or the Green Party candidate. Abstaining simply means one less vote to count.

At first blush, that would appear to be what FourChange.org is doing at the municipal level—telling us who not to vote for.

This group of Kelowna business people, fronted by Castanet Media boss Nick Frost and David Langton of Competition Glass, is telling the public who it does not want to see returned to council in the Nov. 19 election.

The group says change is needed on council but there’s a catch. It is not offering any alternatives to the five council members it does not list as those it supports.

The approach is opposition through omission.

FourChange.org likes Councillors Robert Hobson, Andre Blanleil, Luke Stack and Graeme James because, it says, they share the group’s values. What those values are, the group doesn’t say.

But it lists four principles its says it does believe in—greater leadership on council, more effective decision making, better teamwork throughout the city and a focus on the big picture, not “pet” projects.

The four are the political equivalent of mom, dad and apple pie. What politician, of any stripe and at any level, would be opposed to them?

So, given their omission from the “like” category, it stands to reason the four incumbents not listed—Charlie Hodge, Angela Reid-Nagy, Michele Rule and Kevin Craig, as well as Mayor Sharon Shepherd—are the subjects of the change Frost, Langton and the eight other members of the FourChange.org steering committee wants to see ousted.

Fair enough. Any group can throw its support behind any candidate during an election. It doesn’t mean the candidates being supported agree with the group or are part of a “slate.” In politics, control over who says they like you rests in the voters hand not the candidates.

But if you are going to identify a problem, why not offer a solution?

Who would FourChange.org have you vote for? It’s not saying. And it doesn’t plan to say until after the right people (in the mind of its brain trust) come along.

So how helpful is its message?

At this point, the best FourChange.org has done is increase talk about the election. And if that translates into getting more people out to vote, no matter who they vote for, then that’s a good thing in and of itself.

As for meeting the goal the group appears to have set for itself—a shake up on city council—well, it seems to either be too early in the process or it’s a job only half done.





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