Opinion

Third year wasted

The debate over the Arrowsmith Water Service and the role being played in it by the Town of Qualicum Beach has given rise to that famous lament of the third year in municipal politicians’ mandates: Put off major decisions until after the election.

To repeat the opinion put forth here on many occasions, that would be a serious dereliction of duty, should any politician take that approach.

The electorate demands decisions — that is why we vote for people. The general public does not want the burden of running their own system of government (this can be backed up in voter turnout rates, for there is no excuse not to vote), so we elect people to do it for us. They are tasked with the job, at the local level, for three years.

Waffling over decisions in the final year of the term means close to two years have been wasted. Year one is getting newcomers to city hall up to speed and getting started on a new mandate. Year two is the heavy workload period. Year three is campaigning. Makes a good argument to extend the municipal-level terms of office to four years.

With that task put to them, elected officials should be willing to make tough decisions right up until election day. The tendency, however, is for people to stop working for the people, and start working for themselves.

It’s hard to blame them, for that is the system we have created.

Yet, people tend to forget that decisions made in the political theatre are fluid. The plans made by one group can easily be continued or not by the next one. If a new municipal council is willing, and everyone knows the consequences, change can be made.

This renders the argument of saddling future decision-makers with plans they never approved, moot. Anyone promoting this tactic is just waiting for the election-attention to disappear. 

— editorial by Steven Heywood

 

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