It is Time To Stop This Nonsense – Let’s Not Be “Played” Any Longer. Our Apathy is Costing Us Dearly
Municipal and local elections are right around the corner in many regions of Canada including BC, Manitoba, Ontario, PEI, and Saskatchewan. The total population of these regions makes up much more than 50% of our nation’s population… yet sadly only a very very small percentage of voters will pay attention to the issues, the players and just how easy it is to lose control of their city/town.
That’s right, despite the fact that these local elected officials have the largest impact on our direct day-to-day lives, sadly these elections seem to slide under the radar and are often ignored by the majority of citizens.
The scariest part? Many small and well organized groups know this fact and use it to THEIR advantage, pushing your and your family’s main concerns into the dustbin. By having so few of us willing to take the time to pay attention and vote properly, many of our city’s elected officials end up being pressured into policies and actions based on very vocal yet small groups. In other words, by the majority not paying attention those on the vocal fringes start to set the agenda on how you will live, how your tax dollars are spent and the safety of your city.
Ignoring these elections, as easy as it has become is no longer an option.
If you have a chance of setting priorities that YOU believe in, it is at the municipal level that you have the best chance of doing so… and as this is true it continues to baffle why people would rather complain about the roads, property taxes, police coverage, traffic than pay attention once every 4 years to choose well.
But Wait… Don’t Click Away Just Because It’s Municipal Elections
Before you click onwards (because I am speaking of Municipal and city elections most people’s habit would be to do so) I urge you to consider these 5 points:
1. Local Municipal and City elected officials have the LARGEST and most direct impact on us, the citizens. (yet we pay the least amount of attention to who is picked).
2. You Love Good Roads: Property taxes, local infrastructure (roads, sewers, water, garbage, school districts), “Green” initiatives as well as the overall feel of our city is set by local politicians. These have direct day to day impact on you (and we all love to complain about these issues) but don’t get around to voting
3. Paradise or Nightmare: Local politicians can and do set the tone for the growth (or lack of growth) of your local city/town. They decide traffic patterns, they decide whether to just keep building homes vs attracting jobs to the region, they decide the policies that can make your city liveable or a nightmare of poor traffic and sprawl. Yet, we complain about these things but don’t pay close attention to municipal elections
4. Property Tax Increases and how they are spent affects you whether you are an owner or a renter. For every increase in property taxes, that is money directly out of your day-to-day living. A poorly manged city costs YOU ever day – yet so many ignore the local elections.
5. They Don’t Want You To Vote: Sad Truth Many of the elected officials – not all of them- like the low turnout. Because this allows them to rally their own people to get out and vote and even a small group can have a massive impact on the election. The more of us who vote, the less likely our elections can be ‘manipulated’ by small but vocal/active groups.
It is time to REALLY start paying attention.
It is your money they are spending (I am sure you would rather have a choice how your money is being spent then someone you know nothing about), it is YOUR city/town they are making choices about, it is YOUR lifestyle they can directly affect (much more than federal or provincial politicians can) – It is YOUR choice to make.
PLEASE, even if just this once, do a little research into potential choices in your municipal/local elections and take the 5 minutes to walk in and vote.
Be Choosy, But Don’t Waste Your ‘Extra’ Votes
Remember, you can just vote for the ones you agree with – you don’t have to choose a full slate of city council Members, or school board officials. If you only like 3 only vote for 3.
Share This Philosophy With Others
If you agree that it is time to stop allowing a small minority of citizens to control how our local lives are run, rally your friends and family. Send them this post and ask others in your life to do the same. Together we can start changing the tide and there is no better time to start than right now with these elections.
See you at the Polls, let’s surprise them with the increased turnout so our cities are run the way that the REAL majority wants them to be.
Here is a recent article in the Georgia Straight discussing elected officials and real estate for instance. http://www.straight.com/news/710101/real-estate-analyst-says-lower-mainland-elections-could-influence-housing-prices