I filed my municipal election expense form the day after it was due. It shows that I raised and spent a modest $6,516.65 on my campaign for city council and reused $2,000 worth of sign frames. In filing the day late and paying the $500 late fee, I have ensured that my name will not be on the next municipal ballot.
During the municipal campaign I ran on topics that were quite personal to me - problems that I have faced in my business, in the organizations I have volunteered for, and in my family. Since Dec. 24, one issue in particular has become even more urgent and exceptionally personal. Prince George does not have a mental health treatment facility, such as the one being built in Terrace.
When it comes to mental health services for youth, the only space in all of Northern B.C. are the six beds at the Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment Unit located in the University Hospital of Northern B.C. Demand is such that the youth stay there is very short, with the longest being less than 30 days – long enough to be assessed and then released.
For adults with severe mental health challenges, if there is no facility to support them, they end up on the street. For youth with those same challenges, they are released to their parents. If they are in the care of Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), they will likely end up in a group home as successfully placing children with mental health challenges in foster care is rare. The only recourse other than parents or MCFD is the Reconnect Youth Village located on George Street and Second Avenue, right next to a tent city, or living on the street.
When you’ve engaged in politics for as long and as much as I have, it’s hard to talk about issues with people without them thinking that there is some other motive attached to what you’re discussing and that the issues I’m trying to champion are simply political maneuvering for my next campaign. It has reached the point where in the last six weeks I’ve had numerous people weekly and even elected officials ask me what office I’m positioning myself for.
My approach when I served on council was that I took a stand on issues that I felt were important to our community and fought for them. It had a polarizing effect where my colleagues and the public either loved what I was doing or hated it. I ran for city council again this last fall and wasn’t successful, finishing tenth. Thank you to those who supported and voted for me.
In the video I released after the election, I stated that I planned on staying involved. At this point, I feel that the possibility of me being a candidate in the next municipal election is hampering my ability to make an impact now. As such, I have disqualified myself from running in 2026.
I believe this new freedom I have given myself opens the doors for me to be more vocal in our community, without it being discounted as simply campaigning. It also means I’ll be able to have more opportunities between now and the next election to share what is going on in city hall and how council is doing in addressing the issues our city is facing, without it being seen as part of some campaign strategy.
I look forward to continuing to inform our community and making an impact for the better. I hope to have much to share in the months and years ahead.
Cameron Stolz is a Prince George writer.