KAMLOOPS - Being bored and unemployed has led a Kamloops, B.C., man to seek the mayor's job in the upcoming civic election as he plans to stomp out boredom in politics.
“I’m bored,” said 30-year-old Ben James, who is known for picking up dirty syringes around a park.
“I’ve got nothing else to do and Kamloops needs a new mayor. We need some fresh blood in this town.”
James, who made an unsuccessful bid as city councillor in 2008, said he thinks his campaign could capture the interest of 70 per cent of eligible voters who didn't cast a ballot in the last election.
“There’s a reason why people don’t vote for these elections,” he said. “They’re terribly boring, right? It’s the exact same people running for the exact same positions. If you look at the council, it’s hardly changed at all over the years.”
James said he believes people who don't vote are turned off by the city’s political culture.
While he didn’t have a specific platform yet, James said he hopes to shake up the city, where voters will be heading to the polls in November.
“Kamloops is a great place to live but it’s plagued by convention,” James said.
His two opponents are Mayor Peter Milobar and a candidate who calls herself Mr. Open Pitbelly and straps a model of an open-pit mine to her stomach to illustrate job creation through environmental disaster.
James became known last year for collecting and disposing of discarded needles that his neighbours were too scared to pick up.
“If you look at the town, we have a very a beautiful town but we’re a very ho-hum town," he said. We’re a drive-thru. We have Walmarts, McDonalds — just the most bland places to work, places to shop.”
James said he would be a good mayor because he’s got a thick skin and isn’t worried about criticism in his crusade to shake up Kamloops.
“I’m unemployed, so I have nothing but time to devote to it,” he said.
“I’m strongly opinionated, so I can’t be bought off by, say, Ajax, he said, referring to a controversial mine proposed for the area.
“I don’t care what people think, really," he said.
“Whether or not I’ll get in, we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “But if Kamloops decides they want to try me out then they’re more than welcome to vote for me.”