UBC professor has advice for anyone thinking of running for office

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.”

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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.

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