EDITORIAL: Burning for voter turnout

Parksville Qualicum Beach candidates should not try this at home

A candidate for council in Squamish is going to light himself on fire to spur voter turnout in the municipal election Nov. 15.

Peter Kent, who worked as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s double in Terminator and other films, has pledged to light himself on fire if his community voter turnout exceeds that of the last election in 2011 (39 per cent).

This definitely deserves a ‘do not try this at home’ disclaimer in Parksville Qualicum Beach. We are not aware of any candidates here who have ‘stunt double for Arnold Schwarzenegger’ on their resume.

We salute Kent for making voter turnout a high (temperature?) priority.

In 2011, only 35 per cent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in Parksville. That number was 57 per cent in Qualicum Beach.

The NEWS has provided, and will continue to provide until our final edition before the election (which will be the Thursday, Nov. 13 paper), loads of information for voters. Much of this has been pages and pages of the candidates’ own words.

We offered the candidates in all elections in our area (school board, three different RDN races, City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach) the chance to have 200 words and a photo about them and their views published in our paper. A majority of candidates have taken advantage of this offer. We have also done a number of issue-related stories and have (and will) cover the all-candidates’ forums. We are also publishing all the candidates’ answers, in their own words, to two questions: if elected, what is your number one priority?; and what separates you from the other candidates? We are also co-sponsoring all-candidates’ forums in Parksville (tonight), Qualicum Beach (Thursday) and Nanoose Bay (Monday).

It has been a major undertaking and a large commitment in time and space. We believe, as your community’s newspaper of record, it’s our responsibility. We hope it generates interest in the municipal elections and helps our readers make more informed choices on Nov. 15.

It’s a happy coincidence this election falls four days after Remembrance Day. Many thousands of Canadians put their lives on the line to protect democratic institutions like the right to vote in free elections. The least we can do is respect what they did for us and exercise the right to vote for which they fought so valiantly.

— Editorial by John Harding

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