October 24, 2018 is municipal election day in Manitoba.
Across our province, residents will be able to have their say on who will lead their community into the future by choosing their mayor, reeve, councillors and school board trustees.
For those of you who think sitting out on municipal elections is no big deal or assuming they are less important and impactful than provincial or federal elections, it’s time to think again.
Mayors, reeves, councillors and trustees are on the front lines when it comes to providing the day-to-day services you count on. Services such as fire, police, sewer and water, parks, social services, garbage removal, public transit, libraries and community clubs – all of which have an incredible impact on citizens’ daily lives.
These are challenging times for local leadership. Along with quality of life decisions, they also make decisions that ensure that the infrastructure that connects our communities and supports development is maintained and well planned. This is done all while grappling with the realities of stretched budgets, shifting demographics, keeping up with the advances of new and emerging technologies and adapting to new environmental realities brought on by climate change.
Many of the decisions that affect our communities now and in the future are made at the local level, and these decisions are made by the majority of council or the board. Working as part of a team, sharing differing opinions and coming up with a way forward is perhaps one of the most important tasks of any elected council.
We have all seen un-friendly and less than professional exchanges between political candidates that are designed to impede progress and change – tactics that keep us locked in status quo rather than move us forward.
So this October, when headed to the polls ask yourself this: which candidate has a vision for the future of your community or school? Which candidate can work as a team – embracing new opportunities? And which candidate can manage budgets and make investments to ensure a bright future for your family, your business and your community.
Our local governments have the ability to both influence change and take action, however they too, require support of their community. As citizens of one of the greatest democracies in the world, voting in a local election is not only a right and responsibility but an opportunity to create the change you wish to see.