October 9, 2022 - At the federal and provincial levels, party politics are the norm. Party members vote as a block to support party policy, and there is little room for individual opinion to be expressed. In the past, that has not generally been the case in local civic government. Candidates run as individuals, each with their own opinion on various issues. The concept of a "slate" of civic candidates running together has emerged in some larger cities, but it has never found favour in Nanaimo. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are seeing it in this election. There is a slate (official or unofficial) of "freedom" candidates on the right, and there is a slate (official or unofficial) of "environment" candidates on the left. The fringe provincial Green Party actually sponsored an all-candidates meeting, featuring questions related to its priorities. We see some candidates platooning their election signs together on the same braces. Nothing wrong with it, but I find it discouraging that candidates would not put themselves forward as individuals. We need elected officials who do their homework, listen to citizens, and think for themselves to make informed decisions based on what is best for the community - not based on some political ideology they may personally support.