The fall election season is upon us throughout the province of Ontario. Local leaders are chosen to represent ratepayers to decide how to best keep our community services running and economy prospering. There are a lot of “moving parts” to do this. Our choices at election time should make a difference. Candidates with a vision for the future need a mandate to energize change.
Contested elections are good. Ideally this forces debate, engages the local ratepayers, and after the election results are in, council has a sense of ratepayer priorities. Wouldn't that be nice?
The reality though is that ratepayers complain about the lack of information on local issues. Municipal election turnouts are low – perhaps 20% of eligible ratepayers actually vote. Incumbent candidates are rewarded for keeping their heads low during the election period, relying on name recognition rather than articulating a vision for the future. The whole system favors “more of the same” - which is why ratepayers tune out.
More information is a good thing. In Huron County, some local councils introduced online broadcasting at local council meetings so ratepayers could tune in any time. Perhaps more information, conveniently located online would help during the election campaign as well.
Local government needs your input to make wise decisions. Encourage your local candidates to become better at reaching out to you.