Op-Ed: More reasons to vote than ever, says NCLGA President

Think back to 2011, right after our last municipal election. If asked where we’d be in 2014, many in Northern BC wouldn’t have predicted our current state. Coming out of the recession, we weren’t sure how the economy would fare, or how our communities would do.

Compare that to our situation now: intense international interest in liquefied natural gas, a restored and diversified forestry economy, growing business districts, and more. A lot can happen in three years.

Weathering changes is made possible by responsible and committed local governments – the same governments we voted for in 2011. Making the best of opportunities takes a different kind of savvy, one that our future local governments will need.

CivicInfo BC shows that in 2010, only 29% of registered voters cast a ballot across BC. The Columbia Institute recently released a study, titled “Getting the Majority to Vote.” It addressed the lower municipal turnout rate, and cites increased work (figuring out which candidates to vote for) and decreased benefits of voting (local government isn’t perceived to hold much influence).

Many aren’t aware of what powers local politicians have – from RCMP budgets to snow clearing and road maintenance, many issues aren’t as ‘sexy’ as those at the provincial or federal level. But pipeline deals, revenue sharing, and worker camps are all issues that directly impact Northern BC residents, and they are all issues that that our local governments exercise control over.

All residents, young and old, need to get out and vote on November 15th, because it is our region that will change the most over the next four years in British Columbia. If you call your community home, take the time to educate yourself on candidates. Show that you care about your leadership, and who is making decisions on your behalf. Make your voice heard, because whether it is for Mayor and Council, or Regional District, or School Trustee, every vote matters.”

Brian Frenkel

President, NCLGA

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