This is an open letter to anyone who was born on or before November 15, 1996, but especially those voting for the first time. This may be the first time you are eligible to vote in a municipal election. Busy with classes, homework, studying, exams, or your day-to-day lives, you are likely not aware that on Nov. 15th, 31 days from today, there will be a municipal election in your community or the significance of your vote. It is your democratic right and privilege to be able to vote.
You may be thinking to yourself: “I don’t know who to vote for!” or “What are the issues?”. Regardless, the thing you should understand is: the municipal level of government, is probably the level of government that affects your life the most! Everything from how often your garbage is picked up to your commute to and from home. If you decide to buy property in Vancouver (or wherever you live), the policies and decisions your city make will affect your day to day living for the next 4 years (and maybe beyond that).
You may or may not know all of the issues that are being discussed during the election, you don’t have to. When you vote, you will be asked (in Vancouver at least) to choose one mayor; ten councillors; 9 school trustees; and 7 parks board members. You likely won’t know 10 councillors you want to vote for, or 9 school trustees, but I encourage you to read up on the candidates and decide who your values align with. Contact the candidates and ask them questions. If I remember the ballot question correctly (and make sure you read it properly), I believe it says something like: “choose up to X# for this position”. So if you feel strongly about only 2 candidates, then only choose those two! The top one (for mayor), 10 (for council), 9 (for school board) and 7 (for parks board) candidates with the most votes are elected into office and are responsible for making decisions for your city!
There will also likely be a few close-ended (yes/no) questions asking you about how you feel money should be spent in the city; things about the libraries, parks, transportation, community centres and the like.
I encourage you all to empower yourselves, there are 31 days until voting day. Do a little research. A good place to start is the city’s website (www.vancouver.ca). Keep in mind that everything is coloured with its own bias. Use your critical eye and ask yourself, does this make sense? Is this person really wanting to make my city better? Is this person in it for other reasons? What was this person’s track record?
If you don’t live in Vancouver, but live in British Columbia, your municipality is holding an election on November 15th! Read up, ask good questions, be active citizens and exercise your right to vote! If you choose to put an “X” next to my name, I appreciate your support! If I’m not the candidate for you, that’s okay, I am glad knowing that you made an informed decision to make it out to the polls and voted for the candidate you believed could represent your beliefs the best, and make your city the best place for you to live!