For What Shall it Profit a Man

Mayoral candidate Ron Craigmyle handing over a $500.00 cheque given to him by the City of Quesnel employees union for the purchase of campaign signs to Capt. Jim VanderHeyden of the Salvation Army. For many present at the Legion's All Candidate's forum on Saturday, November 12th, the public display was interpreted as a misguided and transparent publicity stunt designed to win votes.


For What Shall it Profit a Man

by Arthur Topham

November 12, 2011

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Mark 8: 36

As Quesnel's civic election draws closer to the finish line of November 19th the race for the Mayor's chair continues to gain momentum as the contestants vie for the lead.

Along with the flaring of nostrils and the snorting and hoof beats that voters observed while attending the All Candidates Forum at Quesnel's Legion on Saturday afternoon there was an additional display of political chicanery that this observer found to be rather reprehensible and in need of comment.

The issue involved Mayoral candidate Ron Craigmyle and what appeared to be his unscrupulous and disdainful misuse of supposed campaign funds given to him at the onset of the race by the City of Quesnel employees union to purchase signs. At the previous all candidates' forum at Correlieu Secondary Craigmyle had stood before the audience and waxed eloquent about how he would proudly refuse to waste money on advertising as if by stating so it would automatically humble him in the eyes of the voting public. Even then he was going on and on about the cheque as he had also done in his October 28, 2011 front page story in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. To most seasoned politicians Craigmyle's "non-advertising" advertising strategy likely appeared naive and just a tad disingenuous but apart from that I'm sure it was quickly forgotten in the overall scheme of things.

It wasn't until the end of the debating at the Legion that Craigmyle, while giving his closing remarks to the audience, finally revealed his hidden plan for the campaign funds. After a somewhat sly attempt at maligning and discrediting the efforts of Ron Paull and his campaign team's colourful and creative signage blitz now displayed throughout the city Craigmyle then enlisted the aid of Capt. Jim VanderHeyden, head of the local Salvation Army Thrift Store, in a final political gambit obviously designed to give the audience the impression that his charity and magnanimity far outweighed the wasteful spending of the Paull campaigners and ought to be proof enough that he was the person to lead the city in the years ahead.

Capt. Jim VanderHeyden of the Salvation Army - Quesnel

Now I have know Capt. VanderHeyden since he and his wife Deb first arrived in Quesnel to take over the reins of the local store. Not on a personal or close basis even but just through being a longstanding, regular customer and seeing him working with his staff in various capacities. He is well liked and respected and obviously a man of God with a good and generous  heart.

It was for these reasons that I was shocked to see the Capt. being entrapped and exploited publicly in such a shoddy manner by Craigmyle who, under the pretense of donating a $500.00 cheque that was meant for campaign signs to the Salvation Army, was really just hoping to buy some votes and win some political ground in his race for the Mayor's chair.

Whether or not the good Capt. Jim VanderHeyden was aware he may have been set up in this manner is not the point. We all know that the money will be going for a good cause regardless. Still, had Craigmyle quietly donated the cheque to the Capt. prior to the forum that too would have been a better strategy overall. But the manner in which this whole scenario occurred must have left a bad taste in a lot of people's minds who witnessed it. It certainly didn't endear Mr. Craigmyle to this writer