The time is drawing near for the big election everyone across Canada has been talking about. No, not the 2015 federal election. Think sooner. No, you’re wrong again, not the 2014 Toronto Mayoral election. Think smaller and more off the beaten path. You got it! The hype is out of control for the upcoming municipal election in Timmins, Ontario, and you probably already know that paparazzi-magnet Tanya Champagne—a household name (in Timmins?)—just threw her hat in the ring as a candidate for a Ward 5 council seat!
With Champagne seeking a seat, there are not 1, not 2, not 3, but 5 candidates for Ward 5! For the other contenders, this is a big game-changer. Ward 5 has 4 available seats, therefore, before Champagne, every candidate was almost guaranteed a seat in council (provided Timminites didn’t vote against). After Champagne, if these potential councillors are like other big-time Canadian politicians, we’re bound to see a dirty campaign with cheap-shot attack ads, misleading robocalls, and ad hominem speeches.
In gritty campaigning times like this, it’s important for us to remember that there are real issues on the table. Champagne’s campaign focuses on bringing a voice to the marginalized. She wants to empower youth, seniors, and others who struggle in Timmins. She also has an overarching goal of breaking down political barriers for women in a male-dominated political system. Jessica Trudel (no typo, this is not J.T.’s sister) and Veronica Farrell, Ward 5 and Ward 1 respectively, are the only other women running for the 8 seats in Timmins’ council, and might share in that overarching goal.
If one thing is certain, it’s that the Ward 5 race is a powder keg ready to blow. Let’s hope the fuse Champagne lit when she announced her candidacy is long enough to last until the October 27th election. For all you political cranks who have your heads so far up your Ottawas that you can’t see the sun shine, now’s the time to turn your attention to Timmins. Champagne’s call to empower the marginalized is something municipalities across this country should prioritize. She’s made it clear that Timmins is a real Canadian town with real Canadian issues and council candidates with a desire for systemic change.