In a late November by-election, Comox voters elected family physician, father and volunteer sports coach Jonathan Kerr to the town council, beating out his closest rival Steve Blacklock, a commercial appraiser and Rotarian.
Kerr replaces outgoing councillor Pat McKenna, who resigned after announcing plans to move back to his hometown of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Kerr is a progressive who aligns with green values, though he doesn’t claim any allegiance to the Green Party.
Kerr’s website, healthycomox.ca, lists affordable housing, the shortage of doctors, climate change and environmental protection, and the relationship with K’ómoks First Nation as crucial issues.
“The same four priorities keep coming up,” he told Black Press after the election. “It gives me a clear idea of what I should be focusing on as a councillor.”
Kerr was also endorsed by three sitting council members, Nicole Minions, Alex Bissinger and Stephanie McGowan. With 54 percent of the vote, Kerr’s election marks a significant shift at Comox town council.
It could spell trouble for the old guard of mayor Russ Arnott, Tom Grant and Maureen Swift. This trio could find itself outmaneuvered if the four more progressive-leaning councillors vote as a pack on important issues related to sustainability, affordability.
Kerr faced bizarre and false accusations during the by-election campaign.
As reported in Decafnation, rumours were spread about Kerr being against Christmas lights and falsely claiming credit for recruiting four new family doctors to Comox. Kerr laughed off the first accusation as a joke, telling Decafnation’s George Le Masurier that anyone who knows him knows he “loves Christmas lights.”
And a call by Le Masurier to the Sea Cove Medical Clinic confirmed Kerr’s role in recruiting the doctors.
Kerr will sit on the Comox council for the next year, as local governments in BC will go to the polls again in the fall of 2022.