Coun. Chelsa Meadus, right, says people focused on Christmas. (Contributed)

People focused on Christmas, not Maple Ridge council

Most just say hi to politicians collecting coins

Maple Ridge’s new council is still in the post-election honeymoon phase, or maybe it’s just the spirit of Christmas, judging by the reaction to shoppers who’ve encountered two politicians standing outdoors ringing bells and collecting donations.

Three Maple Ridge councillors have taken their turn with the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign this year.

And judging by the public’s response, politics is kept completely separate from Christmas.

Couns. Judy Dueck, Chelsa Meadus and Ryan Svendsen, all each spent a two-hour shift collecting cash in the kettles.

And the former two find that people are focused on shopping, giving and the festive season, rather than whatever bylaw or road the council is considering.

Dueck, just re-elected to another term following the October civic election, says that standing outside with a Salvation Army kettle is the one volunteer activity where people don’t discuss politics.

“It’s a great experience. I really love doing it and it gives back to the community,” she said Friday.

She’s been helping out with kettles for years, including previous Christmases when she was on council. But this year, because of time limits, she only did two, two-hour shifts.

For whatever reason, the public foregoes the chance to talk politics with a politician. And this time of year, people may be more generous.

“People that know me, have a hard time going by the kettle without donating.”

Council newcomer Chelsa Meadus expected to take some questions about council and referenced that on Facebook, but after standing outside Save-On Foods Thursday for two hours, found that wasn’t the case.

“To be honest, I was kind of hoping they would.”

Instead, most people just say hello and congratulated her on the election. After some promotion of the event on social media, Meadus raised about $200 for the Salvation Army on the day when heavy winds downed power lines in Maple Ridge.

“It’s pretty good for a stormy night,” Meadus said.

“I think people are feeling pretty positive about the new council,” although that could change in a year, she added.

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