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So You Want to Run for Council?
So you want to run for city council ? The Coquitlam Public Library hosted this panel discussion where Mayor Richard Stewart and councillors; Teri Towner, Dennis Marsden, Craig Hodge, and Steve Kim gave their insights as to what is required to run a successful campaign when running for city council.
Over the last 25 - 30 years Coquitlam has been unique in that most municipalities in the lower mainland have seen partisan politics creep into the system at one time or another. Be it Vision Vancouver, COPE, or NPA, slate politics have never found roots here in Coquitlam. It would seem that the residents of Coquitlam prefer to vote in individuals who are inclined to consider issues on their own merits and are free to vote as they see fit.
All the participants on the panel agree, as they all feel that this was a significant factor in their entering politics at a civic level. While a person running for council only needs a pool of ten Coquitlam residents to nominate them and the funds to cover a modest application fee, is is strongly suggested by all members of the panel that $10,000 was a good starting point and the minimum that one should expect to invest in bankrolling a campaign run.
Recent changes have been made to the elections act which now prohibit candidates from receiving financial contributions from businesses or special interest groups such as unions. While the intent is to limit outside influences, it also seems to have the effect of widening the divide as it makes it more difficult for those on fixed incomes to raise the funds necessary to mount a successful campaign.
The Tri-Cities Community Television Society is a Not-For-Profit organization in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, BC, offering training in media production skills and provides an opportunity for community voices to be heard.