Thursday, August 25, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Recently, I sent out an email to supporters of mine informing them I was considering seeking a park board seat.

Many of these friends and supporters were surprised that I was thinking of running for park board. Many of them see council as a more natural fit for my issues and wrote back expressing such.

After reflection, I have to agree. But I was moving ahead in a direction which would provide me the best opportunity of getting elected. But should politics solely be based on this ideal?

In municipal politics it is difficult to be elected unless you run with one of the major brands such as NPA or COPE. These brands over the years often change their wrapping but the goods inside usually remains the same.

For a free spirited individual such as myself, I find it difficult to package myself a certain way. Being one way or another has never been my way. It's just not my cup of tea. Terminal City in fact in their recent issue labelled me a political vagabond.

To some degree they are correct. But only in terms of political parties. I'm not comfortable singing to the tune of either big business or big unions. In fact I would be off key and creating a horrible sound.

So after some reflection especially around why it is that I find politics so interesting, I have concluded this. For me politics is about debate on public policy issues or contributing in some way to the public discourse over outdated policies which govern (some same destroy) our lives.

Many wannabee politicians can adapt to the branding aspect of the party they choose to run with. Fortunately for me, I can't. I need to be true to my own spirit, my own heart and my own values. I don't want to compromise my beliefs in order to sell someone else' package. Somewhere inside the rainbow of life is where you will find Jamie Lee.

I know issues which are important for the well being of our city and ultimately standing up for the public interest and greater public good must be presented during election campaigns. However, the parties often stay on message, fearful to step out of the box which they believe will provide them the best opportunities/advantage for electoral success. Candidates will continuously be told by their backroom boys/strategists to stay on message. It becomes a game of winning and losing.

Politics are important to me. Issues I want to talk about in this election will not be addressed by the major brands. I can assure you of that.

I need to participate in the reforming of City Hall and the best way of accomplishing this is by campaigning for a council seat without the backing and trappings of the major brands. I will be free to speak about issues which are important to the public. No backroom boy yanking my chain.

To me politics should never be about packaging and marketing. It should be about good public policy and public discourse debate.

So friends, supporters and enemies count me in. I'm in for the long haul. I'm going to be contributing to policy issues on my terms, in my own style, doing it with flair and lastly, my way. I'm counting on you to be on my side!

Jamie Lee Hamilton