2016 Riverview Municipal Election: A young voter’s guide to the candidates

Monday, May 9th is voting day for the New Brunswick municipal elections.  As a fairly new resident of Riverview (this will be my first time voting here at this level), I didn’t know anything about the candidates, and because I feel that voting is an important function of a free democratic society, I thought I should at least do some research prior to the election so that I could make informed decisions.

My approach, since I was doing this last minute, was to research each candidate in the two main categories (Mayor, and Councillor at Large) using only their online presence.  I started with the candidate list posted at Elections NB  http://www1.gnb.ca/Elections/en/mun16may09/16may09muncandidatelist-e.asp?ELECTIONTOWNID=65TOWNID1915, which had links listed for at least some of the candidates.  I followed the same order of candidates as they appeared on this list.

Social Media along with the Web are powerful tools that every smart politician should use to their fullest potential, especially if they want to reach younger voters.  I pored over websites, Twitter tweets, and Facebook posts all with the goal of learning more about each candidate’s qualifications, prior experience, platforms for election, and just to get an overall feel for the candidate as a person.  To save you all some time, I’ve summed up the results of my research in this blog post along with a link to each candidate’s main page.  Convenient, eh?

I’ve tried to remain as objective as possible in my reviews as well.  I have no affiliation to any of these candidates – I just wanted to learn more to make a more informed decision Monday and share with the public in the hopes that it inspires you to do the same, so that you go out there and exercise your right to vote. Okay here we go:

Mayor (2 Candidates)

Unfortunate that there are only 2 candidates here for the position of top dog. But as you’ll see, the race was certainly interesting…

Scott Bulman

Whoo boy.  So my initial exposure to this candidate came when I was driving down Coverdale by the Ultramar and saw his team putting up the large signs at the Pine Glen intersection.  The candidate’s platform slogan “Reinvent Riverview” made me chuckle.  I thought to myself, what is there to reinvent?  This town is pretty fantastic as it is.  Still, I remained open to learning how the candidate planned to reinvent the town.

So in my research, I found his Facebook campaign page of the same name.  I was totally NOT prepared for all the drama.  Several posts with comments that just scream of the candidate’s lack of professionalism and class.  A lot of heat about a proposed online debate, which for reasons unclear to me the candidate wanted to be hosted by his own campaign team instead of by an unbiased third-party such as the media.  Deleted Facebook posts, pessimism, criticism.  Too much negativity for my tastes.  He’s like Riverview’s version of Donald Trump.  All that being said, there are some positives in this candidate’s campaign:

  • Makes a good case for change.  Change is always good at any level.
  • Extremely strong use of technology to help reach out to younger voters.  Kudos to the candidate and his team for making videos and using technology to reach out.
  • Has some good, fresh ideas to bring prosperity to the town

The candidate had a smart and fresh approach to reach out to voters, but his execution was clearly lacking due to lack of leadership and maturity.  A strong leader can be charismatic and disruptive to the status quo, WITHOUT having to resort to the negative, tactless approaches this candidate used on his social media posts.  Ultimately I feel like this will be his own undoing.  If he does lose, I personally would like to see him come back in 4 years with some maturity and reflection on his first go-round, and maybe take that time to work with the officials whom are elected to try and help drive the changes he is wanting to make. Link: https://www.facebook.com/ReinventRiverview/

Ann Seamans

This candidate’s online presence is limited to a Facebook page and Twitter feed.  It is difficult to find anything of substance on the pages, however a pinned post from 4/20 (ha) sums up very concisely the candidate’s background, accomplishments as mayor, and affirms her commitment to executing to the plans already put in place in her current term.   A vote for this candidate is a very safe, stable vote.  I have nothing more to add here – she seems like a genuine person who has a history of doing great things and still has more to offer. Link: https://www.facebook.com/Re-elect-Ann-Seamans-for-Mayor-118912085164187/?fref=ts

Councillor at Large (5 Candidates)

We have 3 of these to elect and only 5 candidates.  Let’s hope they’re all good!

Scott Campagna

The top banner on this candidate’s website homepage has the word “Councilor” spelled incorrectly.  While it is an acceptable spelling of the word, it is not the official title used by Elections NB for Councillor at Large.  Visually the site is a bit appalling, but at least the necessary content is there.  The first half of the homepage provides some of the candidates history as to why he thinks he is qualified, while the second half describes his platform and motivations.  For some reason he is REALLY against kids playing video games, seeing fit to mention it TWICE in this section.  Maybe his kids kicked his ass at Mario Kart too many times.  Also he really likes the word “great”.  Link: http://www.votescottc.ca/

Cecile Cassista

This candidate has a Facebook page that appears to be run by a teenager.  It’s very unprofessional and full of spelling and grammatical errors.  On top of that, the “campaign material” posted on the page is really just a 1-pager that reads in very much the same style:  poorly written and also lacking any real information.  It is not clear to me what this candidate was directly responsible for in her previous term.  Definitely would not vote for. Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cecile-Cassista-Councillor-at-large-She-Cares/304288209642409

Andrew J. LeBlanc

This candidate’s website looks very professionally done.  At the very least, I get the sense he takes things seriously.  The website content clearly articulates the candidate’s accomplishments in his prior term, as well as communicates his platform for the future.

The site includes a Twitter feed which appears to be a funnel into his Facebook page’s postings.  While I didn’t have time to read everything, his posts are prolific, of high quality, and seem to have substance.  This candidate to me feels very genuine and believable.  He appears to be younger and thus might represent interests more closely matched to my own.  Link: http://www.andrewjleblanc.com/

Christopher R. MacDonald

This candidate’s online presence was not posted on the Elections NB page, however I did find a page easily on Facebook (with links to his Twitter feed).  A lot of the social media posts have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors; I feel like they are being made by someone other than the candidate.  This is unfortunate, as these posts seem to be the only way to gather information about the candidate’s qualifications and platform.  All that being said, there’s something genuine about what the candidate is saying.  I believe that he believes he can make changes to improve the community.  He also comes across as a hard-worker, and that’s always a good thing.  Somewhat votable; maybe a decent third choice if there’s nobody better. Link: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisforRiverviewNB/

Tammy Rampersaud

I knew two things about this candidate prior to conducting my research:

  1. She was the Liberal candidate for our riding in the last Provincial election, losing to Bruce Fitch.
  1. At some point during this Municipal campaign, her team put up a sign in my friend’s yard without asking permission; nay, without even having talked to him or his wife.  Not a good move.

Good thing I knew these two things, because I didn’t learn very much else from the candidate’s social media presence.  As far as background, the best I got was a photo of a newspaper clipping posted on February 23rd, that the candidate’s own posting admitted had “a few inaccuracies”.  From all the other posts though, it is clear to me that the candidate is very involved in the community, and comes across as genuinely interested in making improvements.  With no clear platform, it’s hard to make any other determination; but despite the lack of content, this candidate seems to be votable based on charisma and energy alone.  Link: https://www.facebook.com/Tammy-Rampersaud-for-Riverview-Councillor-at-Large-432801186913409/

That is all for today.  I didn’t have the time nor the energy to research and write about all the individual Ward councillors, since I only vote in my own ward.  Take my lead and take the time to research them yourself though if you want.

Best of luck to all the candidates, and the rest of you don’t forget to vote on May 9!


One Response to “2016 Riverview Municipal Election: A young voter’s guide to the candidates”

  1. Joanne Lyon Says:

    Very informative and well researched, especially regarding the abundance of spelling and grammatical errors (is a pet-peeve of mine), as I feel it represents both a lack of professionalism and lack of importance to detail.
    Thanks for sharing!

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