The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce’s “So you want to run for City Council” workshop featured two sections of information for the attendees.
First was a presentation on behalf of the City of Kamloops with the Deputy Chief Election Officers Natalie Garbay and Courtney Ranger.
The City’s role is to facilitate the election, which includes ensuring deadlines and requirements are met, providing nomination packages, and controlling and protecting voting machines.
Elections BC, however, is responsible for all aspects of campaign financing. For Elections BC information, please click here.
All candidates must:
- Be over 18 years of age on the day of the election
- Be a Canadian Citizen
- Have been a BC Resident for 6 months prior to election day
- Not be disqualified for any reason.
The deadline to submit nomination packages is 4:00 pm on Friday, September 9th 2022.
Candidates must be officially declared by the Chief or Deputy Chief Elections officer, must meet all Elections BC financial requirements, and have nominators on their behalf ready to speak to elections officials by this date.
The official start of the pre-campaign season is Monday, July 18th. By this date, advertising must be 100m away from polling stations, include an authorization from Elections BC, and be away from public roads or highways (Please see Elections BC for more information).
It is important to understand and remember, NO ADVERTISING is to be done on General Election Day.
For key dates and deadlines, please see the City of Kamloops information sheet below.
After the City’s brief presentation, our facilitator, Allison Habkirk, led us through the rest of the workshop.
What does a municipality really DO? They provide services and governance to the community.
Local government gets its authority from the Provinces under the Constitution Act. The Municipality operates as an independent order of government.
In order to become a City Councillor, one must swear an oath in front of a judge- so take it seriously!
The purpose of a municipality is to provide good government of the community. As a city councilor, respectful and responsible conduct is expected of you. One is expected to show integrity, respect, leadership, and collaboration with other councilors. As council is based entirely on collaboration, it is important for each councilor to govern their and their peer’s behavior based on responsible conduct. There are sanctions that can be imposed for those who violate responsible conduct.
City Councilors spend over 200 hours yearly in meetings, and this does not include time spent preparing for meetings nor meeting with constituents, so the time commitment is significant. Additionally, any Municipal business can fall under the Freedom of Information Act and be publicly requisitioned, so ensure you are conducting yourself in a way that is responsible and moral.
Good governance includes strategic direction, allocating resources, oversight and reporting, and managing risk. As an individual, you have no authority- the entire power of City Council is based on shared and collective decision making with the rest of City Council.
As Council, you only have one employee: The Chief Administrative Officer. The Chief Administrative Officer is a professional manager hired to oversee the delivery of actions that are decided by council. All of the decision-making power is concentrated on Elected Council, and the Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for making the decisions of Council a reality. The Chief Administrative Officer will have staff underneath them, who are beholden to serving all political perspectives in a neutral, non-partisan way that serves the public. The operations of council are completed circularly as below:
How does one “get things done” on council?
First, all items to be addressed must be added to the Council Agenda, and discussed by all of Council. All decisions are made either by Bylaw or Resolution.
All Council meetings must be public EXCEPT for “In-Camera” or closed meetings. This only occurs in cases to do with labor/personnel, legal matters, or land acquisition, disposition or expropriation.
There are a few instances in which one might recuse themselves from voting due to several reasons. The first of these could be a Conflict of Interest. Another case in which a recusal might happen is if a councilor finds themselves to have personal bias- All council meetings must be approached with an open mind, and not having made a decision prior to council discussion, although they must be informed on the issue prior to the meeting. If a councilor recognizes their own bias, they can recuse themselves.
It is also important to know your official community plan. This is a document that lays out the long-term vision for the community, and includes community objectives, concepts and policies.
A special Thank You to Allison Habkirk for facilitating this workshop!
Allison Habkirk, BA, MA (Planning), MPA, MCIP has over thirty years of experience in local government as a professional, elected official, and educator. Allison served as Mayor and Councillor for the District of Central Saanich for three terms of office.