We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate MPP Lorne Coe on his re-election in June and his appointment as Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for this Parliament session in Ontario. We look forward to working with MPP Coe on issues that are important to our members.
The election in this spring resulted in a majority for the conservatives, however only 43.50 percent of eligible voters casted ballots. The last time voter turnout was less than 50 percent was in 2011. This is a clear indication of voter apathy. Why are voters that disengaged? Is it the constant negativity in politics? Are the election campaign periods too short to allow for meaningful debates and for parties to get out their message? Or is it that politicians are leveraging multi-media platforms to get their message out rather than engaging with their constituents?
Did you know that as a Canadian Citizen you have the responsibility to vote in all elections, federal, provincial and municipal? With the municipal election just around the corner on October 24, we now have the opportunity to make a difference at the local level. Municipal governments spend billions each year to provide services that meet the important needs of their residents.
An elected council member has three main roles to play in your municipality. They are a representative of a ward, a policy-maker and a steward of your community. They are elected by their constituents to represent their views when dealing with issues that come before council. They need to have a broader understanding of the issues that impact the municipality as a whole. They need to be a team member working with other council members and town staff to ensure that the priorities are met to the betterment of the community as a whole.
Municipal policies have a large impact on the wellbeing of everyone in the municipality. Local government policies and programs affect the community vitality. They are responsible for neighborhood planning including community centres and festivals, democratic engagement through council meetings and citizen committees, education through the election of school board trustees, environmental issues including waste management, public transit, parks and recreation facilities and affordable housing. As you can see the list is exhaustive. That is why the election of your local mayor and councillors should be important for you as a constituent.
Don’t let voter apathy hold you back on October 24. Get to know the candidates in your ward. Read their literature and visit their websites. Listen and engage with them when they knock on your door. Attend or watch debates to listen to their views and to see how they interact with other people.
And if you want to get to know the candidates running for Mayor, attend our Mayoral Forum on September 12th!
Most importantly vote, because ever vote counts. Your vote matters. Municipal Matters.