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Slate days are back at Delta council

For a while, official slates of candidates for Delta council were a thing of the past.
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It remains to be seen how many independents take on Achieving for Delta and any other slates in this year's municipal election for Delta council.

Being called independent for a time was a major selling point for candidates running for Delta municipal council.

The 2005 election saw incumbent Vicki Huntington as the only official independent elected, but gone were the days of opposing full slates by the 2008 race.

The likes of TriDelta, Delta First, as well as others before them such as the NPA and IDEA were a thing of the past.

In 2008, most seeking council seats or the mayor's job were officially listed as independents.

The exception, in a way, was then Mayor Lois Jackson, who had bolted from TriDelta to run with incumbent councillors Robert Campbell and Scott Hamilton on a ticket called the Delta Independent Voters Association (DIVA). Even though DIVA was officially an electoral organization, the group of three also referred to itself as independents.

It was the only group to have its name on the election ballot for council.

While he was also an independent by 2008, incumbent council member George Hawksworth campaigned with two other independents - former councillor Bruce McDonald, who was attempting to make a comeback after having run for the mayor’s seat the previous election, and school board candidate Laura Dixon.

Their coalition didn’t have a name as Hawksworth, who passed away a couple of years later, told the Optimist at the time that the days of slates where everyone had to be on the same page, all the time, on issues had finally ended.

He said his group was running together for practical reasons including campaigns being expensive and difficult on one’s own. He also noted that while his group was generally in agreement on many issues, they also had respectful differences on others.

“I think a lot of these issues are common sense issues and non-political. A sewer pipe is non-political and either you put it in the ground or you don't,” he said.    

In total, eight of the 10 council contestants in 2008 weren’t on a slate, while four of the five mayoralty candidates were not on one. That election would result in the entire council being made up of “independents.”

Later elections also saw other “like-minded” independents running together including the 2014 race, which that saw several candidates, who were trying to get on council for the first time, join forces but none were elected.

By the 2018 election, things were changing once more as slates made a big comeback.

Incumbents McDonald and Jeannie Kanakos ran with school board incumbents Dixon and Nick Kanakos on the Independents Working for You slate, led by mayoralty candidate Jim Cessford. Also on that ticket were newcomers Sandeep Pandher and Garry Shearer as well as newcomer school board candidate Joe Muego. Only McDonald, Jeannie and Nick Kanakos and Dixon were elected.

Council member Sylvia Bishop also ran for mayor in 2018 under her Team Delta banner, which included councillor Robert Campbell and newcomers Joan Hansen, Kim Kendall and Simran Walia. None were elected.

The most successful new slate that year was mayoralty candidate George Harvie’s Achieving for Delta ticket which included Dan Copeland, Param Grewal, Alicia Guichon, Dylan Kruger and Cal Traversy, as well as school board candidates Jessie Dosanjh, Erica Beard and Daniel Boisvert. Only Grewal and Traversy weren’t elected.

For the most part, but not always, the Achieving for Delta members on council voted the same.

One example of the slate not voting in unison was when Jackson, Copeland and Guichon helped defeat a high-rise application at 75A Avenue and Scott Road by voting in opposition.

Harvie last week announced his re-election with a full slate of six candidates for Delta council and seven for school board, the first slate to come out of the gate for the Oct. 15 municipal election.

The well-oiled Achieving for Delta campaign includes Boisvert and Dosanjh making the switch from school board to council. School board chair Val Windsor, who previously ran as an independent, joins Harvie’s slate as a school board candidate with Muego among those joining her.