Thinking of a run for public office? A University of B.C. professor has some advice for you.
“Know why you wish to serve,” says Maxwell Cameron, director of the Institute for Future Legislators. “It is vital to have a compelling answer to this question. If you want to serve only to satisfy personal ambition you may turn out to the kind of self-dealing and opportunistic politician we so often criticize.”
He says that prospective politicos should learn the basics first “because political careers can be derailed quickly when novices make mistakes. Politics is an activity like any other — it improves with many long and hard hours of practice.”
Cameron says it is important that potential candidates understand what the job entails before running for office.
“This is a bit of catch-22. How can you get the skills and knowledge except through practice? There is a very high cost to our democratic institutions when they are run by amateurs who lack the character or judgement to do the job well — and I would suggest [U.S. President Donald] Trump illustrates this.”
The university’s Institute for Future Legislators teaches aspiring politicians how to prepare for the job, and aims to help them understand what a career in politics really involves.