OK, we know it’s been an unusual year, but why is it starting to look like Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill could be walking into the mayor’s chair by acclamation?
Of course, she enjoys an advantage of virtual incumbency having been a councillor for two and a half terms and conducted herself admirably in the mayor’s role since Taylor Bachrach stepped down from the job in November 2019.
And, even if you don’t like her politics, nobody can question Atrill’s Smithers boosterism. A lifelong resident and the driving force behind Tourism Smithers among many other civic activities, she’s thoughtful, frank and level-headed.
In short, she’d likely make a pretty good mayor.
But this is not an endorsement. On the contrary.
It does not serve the town of Smithers to let her just waltz into the job, except perhaps if we could save the money it costs to have an election. But that may be moot because we will still have to fill her vacant council seat.
Democracy works because of the open exchange of ideas. As voters, we deserve to see that played out in the debates and campaigning that accompany an election.
Smithers may have a reputation for being a little mossy and council has been fairly left-leaning for a while, but we all know the town is much more diverse than that perception. Where are the other voices?
Sure, there may be someone out there who is just playing their cards close to their vest, planning on a last-minute, surprise candidacy, but that’s not usually a great strategy and, frankly, by this point, there should be at least rumours circulating instead of crickets chirping.
Who is going to step up to challenge the heir apparent?
And no, we’re not talking about Danny Nunes, the Kitimat comedian who ran simultaneously for mayor of both Kitimat and Terrace as the Kool-Aid Man in 2008 and donned a bear costume for a doomed bid in the last federal election campaign.
Although that would undoubtedly be entertaining, serious candidates only should apply.