EDITORIAL: Time to vote

New faces will grace the council and board tables of local government

Change is a powerful word in politics. There will be change in the faces around the tables that govern our tax dollars after Saturday’s municipal election.

Much of that change has been forced by events. In Parksville, the sitting mayor and four of six councillors decided not to run again for the same positions. That is serious change.

The local school board will have new faces, too. After a tumultuous three years that culminated in school closures, the two members of the board who represented Parksville/Qualicum Beach/French Creek are not running again. At least 40 per cent, possibly 60 per cent, of the five-member school board will consist of new members. That’s big change.

Nanoose Bay will have a new rep to send to the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors. Also, the incumbents are facing challengers in both Errington/Coombs and Deep Bay/Bowser. That unwieldy, City of Nanaimo-dominated, 17-member board changes considerably after each election when the municipalities select their representatives to join the directly-elected rural directors.

Qualicum Beach will have at least one new face at the table.

While change can be a powerful motivator, we wonder if it hasn’t become more of a slogan than a reality. Has the United States of America changed much after six years of Barack Obama? Change and hope were his buzzwords.

That said, the beauty of municipal politics is its closeness. Whomever you vote for Saturday is your neighbour. That’s pretty cool. You can face the people, see them in the grocery store or gas station, who are responsible for spending thousands of your tax dollars every year.

When the federal election comes along next year and candidates here toe party lines on foreign policy issues, we will long for the relevance of municipal politics.

We salute all of the people who have had the courage of their convictions and put their names forward for election. Do we wish more of the candidates had actual vision, some concrete policies and ideas, rather than promising the empty “I will listen to you”? Yes, we do, but we still recognize the commitment made by these candidates, the risks they have taken, the comfort zones they have left.

The least we can do, as taxpayers and their neighbours, is cast a vote on Saturday.

— Editorial by John Harding

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