General · 17th November 2011
Island residents will find out on November 19th, when the election results for Regional Director roll in. For the last month islanders have witnessed a two-man electoral race that many describe as a US-style smear campaign on the part of one candidate.
Two people are in the running for the post of Regional Director for Area C: incumbent Jim Abram, whose two decades of work at the Regional District have recognizably benefitted island groups and communities; and Shawn O'Connor, CEO of We Wai Kai Seafood Corporation and consultant for the Cape Mudge Band.
Jim Abram's campaign has been conducted with respect for both his constituents and for electoral process. His campaign literature, economically and locally produced, has stayed factual and on topic. Mr O 'Connor's campaign, in contrast, has made use of considerable funds. In addition to wooing several sectors on the island with free meals, his campaign literature was ubiquitous and glossy. Initially it contained little beyond electoral platitudes. After the first all-candidates meeting it devolved into slamming the incumbent and circulating falsehoods about his track record. Mr O'Connor's platform promised 'honesty, integrity, and transparency', yet his tactics and indeed his own track record display an astonishing lack of all three. Mr O'Connor failed to disclose his current affiliations until confronted at an all-candidates meeting five days ago.
The falsehoods obsessively circulated about the incumbent are only eclipsed by O'Connor's own corporate interests – which, by Regional District due process, will disqualify him from taking islanders' voices to the Regional District on many island issues due to conflict of interest.
What has alarmed many on Quadra are not only the smear tactics and corporate interests, but Mr O'Connor's apparent lack of understanding of Regional District process. When asked in a public meeting how as Regional Director he would respond to the controversial scallop lease on Quadra, Mr O'Connor stated that he would "speak to the Band and then just issue a zoning amendment." This is simply not how the Regional District is run, a fact that does not seem to concern Mr O'Connor – who also hedged the question of giving up his employment with the Band and the Seafood Corporation should he become Regional Director.
Does Quadra really want a Regional Director who supports corporate interests, even when they're in contravention of our Official Community Plan; who is himself in conflict of interest on key island issues; and who is ignorant of Regional District process? Or will Quadra re-elect Jim Abram and continue to benefit from his years of proven political experience and established relationships at regional, provincial, and federal levels of government?
On November 19th we'll have our answer.
Comment by Jodi Simkin on 17th November 2011
Mr. O’Connor has utilized several local businesses during the campaign process. The production of his literature, glossy or otherwise, is produced by volunteers supporting his campaign. Funding for such expenses has been graciously provided by community members who are endorsing Mr. O’Connor’s bid for office. As required by the Strathcona Regional District, a Campaign Financing Disclosure Statement for the 2011 General Local Election will be filed by March 19th, 2012.
A Seniors Meet & Greet and Complimentary Lunch was held on Monday, November 14th. This event allowed Island Seniors the opportunity to hear from Mr. O’Connor and pose questions in an environment which was respectful and appropriate to their needs. The invitation was widely circulated and extended to all Island Seniors.
Mr. O’Connor’s position with the We Wai Kai Seafood Corporation was disclosed on the “Statement of Disclosure” which is part of the Nomination Package for Candidates. It has been available to the public via the Strathcona Regional District webpage [strathconard.ca ] since October 14, 2011.