A week away

There is a limited window left to file nomination papers for the upcoming municipal election. 

Basically, candidates have a week (until Aug. 19) to get paperwork confirmed by their local clerk in order to run this fall.

There are contested seats in most of the county’s seven lower-tier municipalities, but there are also numerous spots where acclamations are conceivable. 

While election by acclamation is entirely permissible and in the case of a popular incumbent understandable, it does limit conversation during election time. Issues tend not to get the hearing they should, and the public can fairly suggest an absence of choice when it comes to selecting their elected representative. In a democracy we need choices.

That is why this final week is so important. There is still time to contest a lone ward candidate or uncontested seat to ensure local democracy gets the workout it needs to thrive.

For those sitting on the fence who are interested in local politics and being encouraged by friends or neighbours to run, time on council can be a very rewarding experience. The opportunity to take part in discussions that affect the community or county at large is a fulfilling proposition. The trick though is knowing which position will enable the candidate to speak to issues that concern them. 

From time to time we are asked whether or not the paper intends to endorse candidates. This is an age-old practice in some areas where a newspaper ranks runners or suggests their pick for office. Long story short, we think voters are perfectly capable of making their own informed choices.

Our candidate profiles and questionnaire give insight on every person running who avails themselves of the opportunity. Candidate nights held across the county receive coverage in this newspaper, giving people unable to attend highlights of the evening.

Those voter tools, come to play in social circles where fellow residents get a chance to talk and express their views on who would make a positive contribution around the council table. Voting is a very personal choice and many factors enter into that.

There are a few points of interest worth considering when voters head to the polls or fill out their ballot.

A good candidate will be a generalist, interested in all demographics within the community.

People vying for the mayor’s job should have direct experience and demonstrated capacity to run meetings, manage debates and ensure all points of view are considered.

Potential councillors should demonstrate an aptitude for listening. Gaining an understanding of what exactly a resident or councillor is trying to say will prove far easier when making decisions, than making assumptions.

While not easy to ascertain, people with the ability to accept decisions and move on once votes are cast will make better council members.

Successful candidates should demonstrate respects for others, whether that be residents, stakeholders or fellow council members. 

A great councillor or candidate won’t be afraid to say no. There will be times that no is the right response in the interest of the larger community. Conversely, there will be times when yes is an unpopular answer with the immediate neighbourhood, but very much in the overall interests of the municipality and long-term needs. 

Choose someone willing to do their homework, whether that be reading their council package faithfully before the meeting, or expressing an interest in attending sites and understanding requests before them.

In no uncertain terms, the success of council over the next four years rests in the hands of voters. 

These choices should not be made lightly.

Speaking of four long years ahead

Did anyone else catch the recent newscasts where provincial leaders let on there is nothing to worry about with healthcare? There is no crisis apparently.

Premier Ford was at it one week ago and Health Minister Sylvia Jones confirmed this week, healthcare is doing just fine, thank you. 

Apparently, people concerned about temporary emergency room closures and redirections to other hospitals can take solace knowing this is happening across the country. We are all in this together.

These spurious placations may soothe the minds of those in good health, but for those in need it is disturbing news. 

Healthcare remains a disaster for those working in that field and for patients desperately needing treatment. 

One of the first steps in addressing a problem is to admit there is a problem. It would appear those in charge haven’t come to terms with that yet.