STAHN: Making Ajax an election issue

Ajax will be an issue in this local election campaign whether city council candidates want it to be or not, and whether the city really has any say or not.

Enough members of the voting public are asking about it and even those candidates who are not willing to take a stance are making it an issue by pointing out that others shouldn’t be taking a stance either.

Earlier this week a group of five candidates announced they were forming an alliance. All five are opposed to the proposed mine. Word on the street quickly became that they were an anti-Ajax slate with only one platform focus — the mine.

At least two fellow candidates took to social media to express disappointment in the slate and accuse the group of being narrow minded. Mike O’Reilly and Bob Dieno both posted on their public election pages on Facebook.

“Very disappointed to see a slate or ‘alliance’ being ran in the municipal election. The main platform for all five candidates is an anti-Ajax position,” O’Reilly posted Thursday.

“Really disappointed to see an official anti-Ajax slate,” Dieno said Tuesday. “We need to focus on running and growing the City of Kamloops not one single issue.”

On one of the private posts a couple other candidates also stepped up to ‘like’ or comment in agreement.

Maybe they're right. Maybe this is a group allied against Ajax alone, despite the protestations of the alliance, including Denis Walsh, who said several times this week: “You can’t run a city on one issue, especially Ajax, when there’s a big debate whether we can even have a say on it.”

Maybe. But at this point, the only ones really making Ajax an election issue are the finger pointers from the slate's competing candidates.

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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