Wow, there seems to be an actual municipal election buzz circulating throughout southern Alberta this summer, as community members begin to throw their names in the ring to officially run for mayor, a seat on council or on a local school board. The election isn’t until October, but the early bird might get the worm — in this case, an early election bid might raise awareness about one’s potential run for municipal political office.
Many communities are beginning to transform, adapt, evolve — and to do that successfully, change is often necessary to do so. Out with the old and in with the new. Sure, there are some return contenders (and for good reason and merit) — but sometimes, like a Band-Aid, it’s better to rip it right off and start anew with a fresh perspective. Why not, eh? But, this is all up to voters. Residents, indeed need to take part in this age-old process — unfortunately, many municipalities have small turnouts for local elections and democracy takes a back seat, and that’s not good for anyone or anywhere.
Local elections are probably the most important elections of all, as municipal leaders guide a community’s day-to-day life. Local decisions will effect residents directly, be it through bylaws, taxes, road closures, new developments, etc. So why then, do many residents not vote in their municipal election? Do they not care what happens locally in their city, town, hamlet, village, county, M.D., etc.? Have they given up on politics and politicians (locally, provincially and federally)? An elected any politician is like playing boss. A resident/taxpayer is, in essence, the employer of said elected official. Elected official is an employee and a relationship is formed through the simple act of voting a candidate into municipal office to take care of things, so you don’t have to. So you definitely want someone that can take care of the job, well.
Taking a seat on municipal council or on any board should not be taken lightly. Decisions need to be made, without bias and/or with a personal agenda. Decisions made, should be in the best interests of the community the local government/board serves. Therefore, vetting, research, recon, a little Q & A and debate is good for the voter to proactively explore. With today’s technology, there’s no reason not to be informed about candidates seeking office or a seat on a board.
Council or boards should be created with a diverse collection of individuals. With unique perspectives, differing political, cultural and religious beliefs, and from all walks of life. This will offer a community the best option for moving forward, without taking steps back. 2021 will continue to be one of the most uncertain and rollercoaster rides of a year. With that, a community’s leadership should be at the ready to hop on — but be responsive, open, respectful and willing to work together, collaboratively and for the people of said community where a candidate is elected.