OPINION: Let’s keep the campaign debate civil

Insults rarely further a debate. They only muddy the answers.

Rejection is rarely welcomed.

But that’s what the majority of people who announced their candidacy for the various elected positions in the Comox Valley face.

It takes a lot of nerve to run for office. It takes drive and determination, vision and imagination.

But above all it takes confidence – confidence you can make a difference; that you can make a contribution to the growth, prosperity and collective health of the community.

Others will challenge that assurance.

Indeed, in this age of social media, few escape the online assaults that assail anyone who pokes their head above the cover of anonymity.

And to some degree, that’s fair. Political hopefuls on the campaign trail are essentially applying for their job. It is up to us to then assess that application and provide our verdict on voting day.

We need to study their credentials, listen to their responses to our questions, challenge their assumptions and critique their conclusions.

Democracy is an active process. It was never meant to be a spectator sport. It requires our participation as much as the candidates.

But there are rules.

And personal attacks are definitely off limits.

We’ve said this before in this space: attack the issues, not the individuals.

There is ample room for debate on most issues: Should we spend more and provide more services? Or, should we spend less and keep taxes low?

We don’t need to make it personal; insults rarely further a debate. Instead, the mud hurled usually obscures the answers.

That doesn’t mean candidates are exempt from criticisms for the opinions they hold. They should be ready to defend their stances when challenged; the electorate will grade them on election day.

It is not an easy process, nor one for the timid.

But it should remain civil. The candidates who have put their names forward have prompted discussion simply by their willingness to initiate debate.

And, regardless of who we vote for on Oct. 20, that deserves our thanks.

READ MORE: For comprehensive campaign coverage, check our election section

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP member hit in head with wood

Incident was part of a busy Canada Day for local police

With video: Soaring above Mount Washington

The longest zip line on Vancouver Island officially opens its doors

Canada Day barn fire keeps three Island crews busy

Oyster River, Courtenay and Campbell River fire departments all respond to incident

Spray parks in Comox and Courtenay reopening

Both parks are free and open seven days a week, rain or shine.

Orcas put on Canada Day show in Comox

T051 and T065B as they spy hopped and breached

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read