Our View: Civic elections about community

With two months to go before voters go to the polls to select their municipal mayors and councils, we see some interesting races shaping up around the Capital Region.

With two months to go before voters go to the polls to select their municipal mayors and councils, we see some interesting races shaping up around the Capital Region.

Oak Bay could have a new mayor, if Christopher Causton sticks to his decision to step aside, a move he first announced last year. Saanich could see the tightest mayoral race in years with former councillor and MLA David Cubberley preparing to challenge incumbent Frank Leonard.

We hope to see other personalities and races emerge once the candidate registration deadline for the Nov. 19 election passes in a few weeks’ time.

For those who don’t intend to run for office, but want to follow the action, there will be various ways to do so, not least of which is to watch the online and print versions of the News.

That said, it’s also important for readers to know that the rules change for publishing opinions during an election campaign.

Eliminating bias is the goal of this newspaper and others, so letters to the editor and op-ed columns cannot be seen as favouring any individual or group of candidates. Conversely, letters from candidates criticizing the work or decisions of a sitting member of council will not be published.

Such a policy levels the playing field and forces all candidates to get their message out to the public themselves, without assistance from the media.

News stories including comments made at candidate forums are a different story, however. Such meetings are public events and reporters attend them to help give readers a sense of where mayoral and councillor candidates stand on certain issues.

We aim to be as fair as possible when it comes to covering all election campaigns. In a sense, we feel a special obligation to report closely on civic campaigns, which are grassroots political events that we can all participate in.

Of the three levels of elections, they reflect community the best.