CONTRIBUTION · 30th October 2011
It is obviously the season for political bafflegab, and this year we seem to have a better than usual crop of platitudes from the political hopefuls. The problem is that they are all saying as little as possible in as many words as possible. In order to make some sense of what is being said, by all candidates, I have researched what they have been saying, and have come up with one sentence that everyone should be to endorse: "We have the opportunity to build on our strengths to better communicate and work together to focus on the progressive cultural and economic infrastructure of our city to provide incentive to attract green, tax-paying industry".
Now that we have one main issue that everyone should be able to agree with, maybe we can get down to some specifics. For instance, statistics show that 40% of the population will not bother to vote in an important federal or provincial election regardless of the amount of money spent on it, and in municipal politics that figure grows to 85%. I would like to hear from all of the candidates about why this happens, and, very specifically, what they would do about it.
Success = 1% inspiration + 99% perspiration
Comment by Mike Ross on 31st October 2011
There are a couple of main reasons why this is happening in my opinion. The first one I encountered, oddly enough, when I decided to campaign door to door and people, supposedly "in the know" advised me to concentrate only in certain areas because "that's where the voters are". At first, I was tempted to follow that advice and perhaps get the best return for the time spent in terms of votes. Then I thought; How many times in past elections, either federal, provincial and municipal has that same logic been used? If some people have been ignored for so long by not asking for their opinion are we letting the alienated become more so? I have chosen streets at random (to campaign) and I have been rewarded with strong opinions, sound logic (sometimes even brilliance) and many ideas that I wish I could take the credit for. And all this from people who had never had any candidate knock on their door and never voted in a municipal election.
The second reason I would mention, and it may be only partly tied in to the first, is a feeling of futility. I can see it in some of the comments made here and elsewhere and even people at their door have said "why bother" or "more of the same crap" A sad indication of why we have a 15-20% voter turn-out for Municipal elections.
We need to keep everyone engaged on a regular basis and make them know (not "feel" but "know")that their opinion counts. I would keep going door to door as a way to "stay in touch" with people. (I have enjoyed it and I like the personal touch) Maybe even 2 Councillors (one" for" an issue and one "opposed") doing some deliberative polling on a regular basis. Things like this should be done at random and take only a little time and some shoe leather, and would undoubtedly help Council to always understand the views of citizens.
I would initiate a "Councillor for a day" or "Call to Council" plan where we would invite citizens to Council meetings just to ask "What do you think?" or "How are we doing?" this should also be done at random and for every meeting. Regular telephone calls may be another option. Communication is the key.
Finally, I would empower people with the ability to veto decisions on major expenditures falling outside of what is considered to be basic expectations of a Municipal government (As example , the purchase of the Co-op building or investment in My Mountain Co-op would fall into this category.)
As people come to realize that their opinion truly counts, they will be more inclined to become involved and stay involved. Can you imagine an 80% voter turn-out in 3 years time? I can.
Rock the Vote!
Comment by Dave Pernarowski on 31st October 2011
Voter apathy has been a major problem at all levels of government. I would like this trend to change. I plan to spend a good portion of my advertising campaign to inform the community about dates and times to vote and the location of the polling station.
This year our Advance Polls will be held on November 9th and 16th from 8 am to 8 pm at City Hal in the Lower Level. On general Election Day, November 19th, the voting location will be at the Terrace Sportsplex on the second floor in the meeting rooms from 8 am – 8 pm. Mail-in voting is also available for those who will not be in the City for any of the above voting dates. Information on mail-in ballots is available at City Hall or by going to our website. You can download all the necessary documents at www.terrace.ca.
I intend to use the social media network to get the word out on voting options. I’ve already posted on this topic once on my Facebook site, ‘Dave Pernarowski Mayor of Terrace’. I will send out alerts on the Advance Polling dates and just prior to our general Election Day. (Candidates are not allowed to advertise on the general Election Day.) The advertising I create over the next few weeks will also focus on participating in the vote and why citizens SHOULD participate.
On advance poll days and on the general election day, I’ll be placing “VOTE TODAY” messages across my signs around the City. I will also be meeting with various groups to find out what will motivate them to participate. (Phone call reminders, Facebook message reminders, driving people to the polling station)
Our council will be stronger and more effective if it reflects the community it serves. If we could have a HIGH percentage of the population voting, we will achieve this!! Casting your vote shows that you care about your community!