There's a role for defeated candidates

(Former mayoral candidate Cec Drake, right, and Mayor David Henderson listen to discussion at a debate in October.)


I may be a cynical journalist, and I may indulge in a sometimes dark sense of humour.

Still, I have my limits.

So I will not go on in this space about how Mayor David Henderson may have been sending a not-too-subtle metaphoric message about the political career of recent mayoral rival Cec Drake when, on Tuesday, he led council in appointing Drake to the cemetery board.

Drake has been appointed to the Brockville Cemetery Board for a term expiring November 30, 2018.

The comic potential would have been immense, even more so than the last time cemeteries and humour made for an unfortunate coupling.

That would have been the time the city appointed to the cemetery board its most aptly-named member, Marvin Graves.

Not that Drake wouldn't appreciate the joke, I suspect, since on election night he essentially suggested he was done with politics.

On the contrary, I will simply remark on the value of appointing defeated municipal election candidates, in general, to positions of citizen service.

For one thing, people who took the time to run for office, and took the lumps before and on election night, have demonstrated a commitment to public service and community involvement.

Secondly, appointing defeated candidates sends a message to the general public that if one takes the time and puts in the effort to run, something might come out even of defeat.

And third, it lays the groundwork for a succession plan. Brockville may have voted all the incumbents on the slate back in this time around, but the current crop of council members will not be there forever. Allowing those who finished further down the list to gain some experience could ensure council's successors are not entirely green.

I hope Drake is not the last of the defeated 2014 candidates to find a spot on some municipal board. The election saw a good crop of talented people on the ballot, many of whom would do a good job in some civic function.

One idea comes to mind: Gord Smith, whose unsuccessful bid for a council seat included a plan to improve the transit system, would make an excellent choice for some public body overseeing the current evening transit pilot project.

But that's just one possibility among many.