POLITICS
09/09/2014 01:43 EDT | Updated 11/09/2014 05:59 EST

Mr. Open Pitbelly's campaign: environmental disaster to boost B.C. economy

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The latest mayoral candidate in Kamloops, B.C., has announced his bid for the job by strapping a model of an open-pit mine to his stomach.

Mr. Open Pitbelly stood on the steps of city hall and outlined a plan to boost job creation in the city through environmental disaster.

Pitbelly told a crowd that included Coun. Tina Lange and another potential challenger, Denis Walsh, that he will campaign on the “three P's of prosperity” — ponds, as in tailings ponds, pits and pollution.

Speaking as though he himself were the controversial Ajax mine proposed for the area, Pitbelly said a tailings-pond failure would bring economic spinoffs to Kamloops.

“When it lets go, it’ll whoosh down Peterson Creek and through the city and to the river — and then into Kamloops Lake,” Pitbelly said.

“And think of the urban renewal that will create. There will be all sorts of researchers and lawyers and grief counsellors and soil specialists — all kinds of people. That will create very diverse kinds of jobs.”

Pitbelly said he is also hoping to provide a long-term solution to some of the city’s parking problems by turning the Ajax pit into a parkade once it is no longer used for mineral extraction.

“This parkade is forever,” Pitbelly said while placing model cars into the mine model on his stomach to illustrate the plan.

The latest mayoral hopeful to enter the ring against Mayor Peter Milobar is actually Elaine Sedgman.

She said her campaign is legitimate and that she intends to have her character on the ballot for the Nov. 15 civic election.

“Mr. Pitbelly is serious about running,” Sedgman said.

Sedgman said she was inspired by performance artist Vincent Trasov, adding he ran as Mr. Peanut in the 1974 Vancouver mayoral race. That campaign mostly involved tap dancing.

“His thing was more art and about art," Sedgman said. "Mine is not too subtle."

Mr. Open Pitbelly may be familiar to some opponents of the Ajax gold and copper mine because of his appearance at anti-Ajax gatherings.

Sedgman said she’s not affiliated with any of the city’s most notable anti-mine groups, beyond getting their email newsletters, but opposes the project.

She she she's offering a different take on the job-creation talk advanced by proponents of the mine.

However, Sedgman's nomination under the Mr. Open Pitbelly name would be legally challenged.

Chief electoral officer Cindy Kennedy said updates to election legislation for 2014 permit candidates to use their usual name on the election-day ballot instead of their legal name but artistic aliases are not permitted.

“My name is Cynthia, but my usual name is Cindy,” Kennedy said. “I’ve got lots of documentation. I can prove I’m Cindy. People know me as Cindy. They don’t know who Cynthia is.”

“Mister is definitely out,” Kennedy said. “Legislation speaks to you cannot use any prefixes. You can’t be Doctor. You can’t be any of that.”

Kennedy said if Sedgman insists on having her alter ego on the ballot, the nomination would have to be challenged in provincial court because it’s not her usual name.

Any elector or nominee, or Kennedy herself, could take the matter to court.

Kennedy said if Sedgman brings in nomination papers once filing begins on Sept. 30, Kennedy will advise the candidate that she will be making the challenge as the city’s chief electoral officer.

Sedgman said she wasn’t aware the rules had changed to disallow names such as Mr. Open Pitbelly.

“That’s very sad, isn’t it?”

Sedgman said she’s not sure how she will approach the legal issue.

Candidates for election have until Oct. 10 to file their nomination papers. (Kamloops This Week)