Setting the Record Straight – Our Approach to Elections

Local journalist Larry Pynn recently contacted One Cowichan Board members saying that North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring had told him that One Cowichan is not endorsing mayoralty candidate Rosalie Sawrie in this election. He asked us for a statement. The short answer is that One Cowichan doesn’t endorse electoral candidates, and we never have. We provided him with this statement.

“Rosalie Sawrie worked for One Cowichan some four-plus years ago, before she decided to run for Council. Her employment with One Cowichan ended before she filed her papers as a candidate.

“One Cowichan was not involved in encouraging her to run, or in her election campaign. We did not endorse her then, nor do we endorse her this time around.

“Despite what some people like (mayor) Al Siebring say, One Cowichan does not endorse and has never endorsed any candidates in any election — local, provincial, or federal.

“Our focus in every election has been, and continues to be, engaging local people in the issues, highlighting local concerns with a community values-based lens.

“Each election we ask our list of the few thousand local people who follow us what matters to them and what questions they'd like us to ask the candidates.

“Then we put together a set of questions and send them to all the candidates, with a word limit for their answers. We are in the midst of refining the questions now. We'll publish candidates' responses verbatim on our website when we have them.

“We're also big fans of community engagement and the democratic process (flawed as it sometimes is).

“At election time we encourage local citizens to think about the issues that matter to them, where candidates stand on those issues, and even think about whether candidates kept their promises from their last election campaign in their most recent term in office.

"Most of all we encourage people to get informed and get out to VOTE. What happens at the local government level really matters - global issues like the climate crisis are affecting us in real ways right now here at home (floods, droughts, heat domes, food insecurity, water for both humans and salmon).

“These are some of the things people are telling One Cowichan this week in response to us asking them what their concerns are this election. And there are many things local governments can do to make a difference - yet voter turnout is often lowest in local elections. Getting out the vote has always been a major focus for us. Over this next week we will be sending out our questions to candidates so voters can consider what candidates have to say and how they want to vote.

“FYI - In the last local election, One Cowichan registered as a third-party organization to support the CVRD Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Referendum. Water protection has been a central issue for One Cowichan since we first came together to support more evidence-based water stewardship and increased water storage at Cowichan Lake in the summer drought in the Cowichan River in 2012.

“We followed all the Elections BC rules. That was last year - bringing people together around an issue people told us mattered to them and to our community. Since we don't endorse candidates or spend much money, we haven't needed to register with Elections BC for any other election.

“When I looked on the Elections BC site after the deadline to register this year, there were no third-party organizations from the Cowichan Valley registered, so I hope other groups understand they can't be endorsing candidates either.”

— Jane Kilthei, One Cowichan, Sept. 19/2022