Electoral politics invites its share of fringe candidates – no-hopers who may sometimes contribute a thoughtful contrarian view, but more often than not provide comic relief or a touch of pathos.
Civic elections are especially fertile ground because it's fairly cheap to enter a campaign. We've already talked in Daily Brew about Edmonton headbanger Josh Semotiuk, who's vying for the mayor's chair in next week's Alberta municipal vote.
Now let me introduce you to Sandra Hunter, who's taking another run at the Calgary mayoralty after garnering just 284 votes in the 2010 election, which produced a surprise victory for academic Naheed Nenshi, who got more than 140,000 votes.
Hunter, married with two daughters and a Highland Terrier named Kipper, is campaigning on a platform of ending wasteful spending at city hall, reforming the pension plan covering city workers and returning $52 million in surplus municipal tax revenues to taxpayers.
And, oh yes, legalizing marijuana.
Hunter states on her campaign web site that legalization has many benefits, including reducing Calgary policing costs and freeing up officers to investigate other crimes, decreasing the strain on the court system and giving the government a major new source of tax revenue.
She's apparently even trademarked her new handle "Mayor-juana," judging from her campaign poster reproduced on the Huffington Post site.
Sandra Hunter, Calgary Mayor candidate. Best ad ever!!!! pic.twitter.com/1jdAie8Mv3
— Tanner James (@albertanights) October 10, 2013
Hunter, who's done little actual campaigning, is one of nine candidates challenging Nenshi, most of them with only a snowball's chance of upsetting the popular mayor.
The list includes conservative Christian radio host Larry Heather, who Global News notes has run 15 times for mayor, as well as failed bids at school trustee, provincial MLA and federal MP.
Heather's campaign web site has taken aim at Nenshi's Muslim faith.
"In light of the recent Islamic terrorist attacks does it make sense for Calgary voters to endorse a Mayor who will and has sworn into Office with his hand on the Koran?" Heather asks.
"When a mayor's office is sworn in, that person represents the people of Calgary corporately as an entity. And the faith sworn upon corporately should be capable of maintaining a democratic system that originated upon the Judeo-Christian values base. Also be assured, that the Islamic world makes no separation of Church [Mosque] and State."
Then there's businessman Milan Papez Sr., who Global News says was fined $2,500 in 2002 by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing anti-Semitic and anti-Asian material in his pamphlet, the Silver Bullet.
The other long shots seem more mainstream. Construction contactor Norm Perrault, who lost three bids for city council, is campaigning on lower property taxes and getting better value for city contracts, Global News reported. Likewise businessman Carter Thomson.
Two-term alderman Jon Lord seems the most likely challenger for the incumbent Nenshi. The former provincial Conservative MLA placed fifth in 2010, but even he admits he's running mainly to give Nenshi some competition.
To be fair, Hunter didn't finish last in 2010; there were three candidates trailing her.
Given his year's slate, maybe she'll move up the rankings.