Municipal governments, and those who serve within those governments, have often been considered as the junior members of the governing club.
Naturally, many feel that the federal government has the greatest impact on the world stage. Their policies have significant consequences and, as the richest and most senior level of government, they command the most attention.
The provincial governments also manage to command respect, although their inter-mural bickering can often cast their federal counterparts into the role of a patient parents, trying to sort out a squabbling brood over which they ultimately preside.
Then there are municipal governments, the Charlie Browns of the governmental triad.
Municipal governments are often ignored, or considered to be barely relevant.
The issues they address tend to be highly parochial and on those occasions when they try to address more sweeping issues like climate change, they invariable find themselves the targets of condescending snark.
But local governments do matter. The policies they enact can have an immediate impact on our communities, shaping the local economies and impacting the quality of life in the place we live, work, and play.
That’s why it was refreshing to speak to Sooke’s freshmen councillors and get a sense of who they are and how they are adapting to their new positions.
Although it’s early in their term, each of those councillors are already carving out their personal roles on district council.
Longtime community volunteer Al Beddows brings experience and common sense to the table, while Jeff Bateman has earned the reputation of the one who does extra credit homework and knows more about the issue than most others by the time a meeting is held.
Tony St. Pierre brings the thoughtful, expansive views of a city planner to the discussions while Megan McMath has brought a youthful energy and very different, generational, outlook to many issues.
To date, they all seem to be doing a good job and we’re hopeful that this council will leave a legacy of getting the important work of the community done.
A hopeful indicator that this might be the case is the fact that few of the votes taken by council on real issues are unanimous.
Unlike some councils in B.C., this group does not march in lock-step with one another and four-three votes are common.
It’s a good sign, and we trust it earns this council the respect it deserves.