By Lori Paras
THUNDER BAY – OPINION – The municipal election has come to a close in Thunder Bay and there are many community members confused by the election results expecting greater change on city council, especially in the “At Large” race. As an “At Large” candidate in this past election, I was told from day one that I would not win, that the herd mentality of voting for the recognizable name would prevail. This experienced politician also shared the names of four out of the five candidates that eventually did win.
This was a sobering moment and I had the option to either believe or ignore the solid experience of my friend. I chose to believe his advice but continue to run in the municipal election as if I could win.
I would share a message of changing the status quo by promoting equal partnership with First Nation communities, lobby for taking care of our most vulnerable and advocate for a city council that was more representative of who we really are as a community.
Through the process of joining in this very large and competitive race I gained many insights, the most important insight by far was the power of the machines. Early in the campaign, it became clear that candidates and incumbents affiliated with provincial and federal parties (the machines) achieved better results than candidates who were not established in party politics. These machines are well organized and better equipped to help fundraise and knock on the never-ending doors of voters in our very expansive city.
The newcomers to this process, the believers in the power of words and exemplary deeds have had the lights turned on and are aware that they are in need of their own machine to help them navigate the many hidden facets of municipal politics.
Let’s gather around these new voices, these progressive attitudes and build them a machine to support their efforts in 2022. A grassroots machine of caring citizens promoting dignity and inclusion for all.
In the meantime stay engaged and hold your elected officials accountable for their words, deeds, and actions on your behalf. Congratulations to the winners!
Candidate – 2018 Thunder Bay Civic Election