I live in ward 6, and I find myself constantly stumbling upon this fact: to this very day there's not a single registered candidate for City Councillor of Hamilton's Ward 6.
And yet there's so many issues facing Hamilton right now-- Public Transit, Economic Investment, Poverty, Social Housing, Pan Am, Police Budgets, Casino developments-- just to name a few from recent memory.
Given how many issues there are, it's astounding that nobody has pieced together a platform to run on given the future decisions Hamilton's facing as both a community and a city.
Or have they?
To the average observer, this all makes very little sense because surely there must be people of the mind to be contenders in the ward given all of these issues?
But it actually does make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, the sense it makes is anything but inspiring.
You see, potential candidates certainly do exist-- but they're waiting. Their eyes are trained upon a certain Mr. Tom Jackson, City Councillor of Ward 6 for over 25 years. (In other words, longer than I've been bloody alive).
None of them want to put their hat in the ring if he's going to re-register himself for another four more years (because hey maybe he's shooting for three decades in office, and I mean, who would want to get in the way of that?).
So instead of being bold and courageous, would-be candidates wait around idly biding their time circling around, very much like vultures, to see if ol' Tom's political will perhaps croaks.
That shouldn't be a factor.
That it is one is saddening and, frankly, a little revolting.
I realize I'm young, and that I've never personally run a political campaign the scale of a municipal election before, but I want to say this much: if you want to run to represent the views of thousands upon thousands of people, for multiple years, I expect you to have confidence in your vision for this ward. The fact that we are one of the only wards still going without any candidates whatsoever shows me that whoever's mulling over their bid for Councillor isn't confident enough in their visions to face Mr. Jackson head-on.
They should be.
In fact, they need to be. Change isn't easy. It isn't supposed to be opportunistic. If you think you have a vision for this ward and city that deserves to be put forward, what an incumbent is considering should not be a factor to you.
Let's drive this Home. Tom Jackson has been City Councillor for ward 6 for over a quarter of a century.
If you're considering running, forget what Tom Jackson is going to do. It's not important. Have confidence, be determined and put forward your own vision for this ward and Hamilton's future. Because we need change in this ward and in this city. Progressive change. And simply by the looks of the underwhelming inaction thus far? I'm not confident we're going to get it any time soon.
And the people of ward 6-- and Hamilton-- deserve so much better than opportunistic idlers.