Apathy in municipal elections has always resulted in low voter turnout and not much interest unless there is a mayoralty race of any significance….and this October 24th election is no different. I voted in the advance polls this past week, and we were the only family that came in to cast our vote. The polling clerks when
l asked how the turnout had been thus far, responded it was very poor turnout. The unfortunate thing about municipal elections is that many folks see these elections as having no significance with many thinking that the provincial and federal elections are more important than the municipal election. Well, l have to tell you that this is an erroneous perception because the reality is that these elections effect you and your family the most.
Many do not realize the power that the city has with its representatives through the councillor and the mayor. These folks mould and set forth many of the rules and regulations that we all live by. The power that municipalities have is far more relative and significant to our daily lives than other political establishments, whether its trough our tax base for servicing our roads and collecting our garbage just to name a couple. Our cities and their functionality is tied into the decisions made by these elected municipal politicians and we need to keep them totally accountable to us the voters.
Please take note that these municipal elections have even more significance attached due to outcomes from Doug Fords conservative government making significant legislatives changes to the municipal act that will provide the mayors of cities, especially in Toronto and Ottawa with tremendous newfound powers that could change the 50-year layout of many cities. This new power that has been legislated to Toronto and Ottawa have been contentious at best, but has been mandated by Ford claiming that his majority government give him the power to implement.
Municipal elections traditionally been independent from the province for the past 75 years with very little interference by the province. So, why has the Ford government over the past two elections carved out areas within the municipal act that has allows the Ford government to make decisions on MZOs and other municipal issues that normally would have been handled by the municipality on its own?
Why has this premier made significant cuts to councils especially in Toronto where the city appealed this decision to the Supreme courts and lost?
Why has this premier issued stronger veto powers to these mayors and given them the tools to set a path for the next 50 years especially for the city of Toronto? The answer in my estimation is very clear….and that is to have total and absolute power for the next future mayors and especially for the mayor of Toronto. One might say that Doug Ford is paving the way so that in four years he may run for mayor of Toronto and when he gets there, all the tools will be in the toolbox that will give him absolute power over the future course of Toronto. Far fetched maybe but when you line up the dots and sit back and analyse these moves….it may not be that outrageous.
In attempting to put some context to these hypothetical moves, l am trying to give you a sense of why these elections are so important and why these other levels of government are trying to dictate our future municipal course. These municipal elections should be front and centre, but they are not because the odds of an incumbent losing an election is very low. In my humble opinion, the reason why there are 7 seats open on Toronto council and most vacated by NDP held spots is that they figured this out and most have jumped ship.
One may say that my thoughts may be a silly conspiracy theory and will never happen…. but just take a minute and reflect on my reasoning. There are other great reasons why municipal elections are very important and the significant impact that they have on our daily lives, but the most important is that municipalities are the life blood of our communities. We need to keep giving our cities some new blood and this election is the best time to give it a major blood transfusion with some new faces.
If you care about your community, take a few minutes out of your day to see who is running in your area both as a councillor and school boards as it will affect all our futures moving forward.
If you don’t vote…you don’t have the right to complain.