Another View: Who would you trust with your keys?

Being involved in the democratic process necessary for citizens

Decision 2014

Who would you trust with the keys to your house and access to your bank account? Will you choose, or will you let someone else do it for you?

These are the questions taxpayers of Sooke should be asking themselves as we near Election Day.  That’s right; Sooke is your home, and the taxes you pay are from your bank account. Who will you trust with your home and your money?

Despite the seemingly quiet on the streets around this election, we should not take for granted that all will be fine, or be apathetic to the politics that surround us and decisions made by elected officials that impact our daily lives.

Like any election, voting is important, and a key part of our democracy, but unlike municipal elections of the past, this one is significantly different, as this next council will be taking care of your home and your money, for 30 per cent longer. With the new four-year election cycles we are putting our faith in the elected representatives longer than ever and therefore must have trust that we are putting in the right people. Will these people be making sure our “home” is maintained, the lawn mowed, exterior painted, additions are made as our family grows, bills are paid, and our accounts are not overdrawn? Or will the maintenance and basics be forgone in the interest such as shiny new cars, boats, an RV and vacations, so that we can keep up with our neighbours?

Don’t leave your home’s fate to those who are avid political followers and those who have their own special interests to represent. Everyone in our town has a responsibility to be aware of the people they choose to represent them and the issues they may be required to vote on.

There are many issues facing this next council and they include but are definitely not limited to the following:

Expiration of the current sewer contract during this term – do we renew, run in-house, find new partners, renegotiate? Community center – do we need one, how big will it be, how much will it be, who will pay for it, who will run it, where will it be?  Parks, roads and storm water management (new construction and maintenance). Development pressures, municipal services,

SEAPARC pool debt retirement, community grants,

long-term strategic planning, long-term fiscal planning, and sustainable taxes.

It is important for all of us to be involved in the democratic process. In 2011, only 3,525 of the eligible 8,409 voters cast ballots.  I am sure our forefathers who built this country and sacrificed themselves in the name of democracy would be rolling over in their graves knowing that so many of us take the process for granted and cannot be bothered to vote.

If you don’t think your vote counts, in the last election, there was only 65 votes difference between sixth and seventh place. If you fail to vote at all, you are just giving that vote to someone else to do with as they wish and impose their interests impacting your home on your behalf.

When voting, remember, you DO NOT have to vote for anyone else other than who you want to see elected. If you only want to vote for one council candidate, then do that, but please do not feel any obligation to select six council candidates. Putting a mark beside a name for the sake of filling up a slate is not doing democracy justice.

So please, become informed of the issues and the candidates. Do not be influenced by the number of signs on a roadway, their size and colour, or the ads in a newspaper, as this is just window dressing. Get to know the candidates, contact them, share your concerns and vision for our home and see where they stand. They are interviewing to be the guardians of your home and bank account, keep that in mind when you are speaking to them or listening to them speak. Would you trust that person with your most valuable assets now and in the future? If the answer is yes, then maybe, just maybe that is the person who you want to be your voice at the council table.

This election is not just about the four-year term; it is not an election for today, but for tomorrow and generations to come.

Here is the website address for those that want to contact their candidates: http://www.election2014.civicinfo.bc.ca/2014.

Derek Lewers, Sooke

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