Courier editorial – Step right-up, and see your democracy in action

Well, here we are, bright eyed and bushy tailed (I’m really not), on a grey Tuesday morning, with a municipal election barrelling towards us.

This past Friday, April 9, was the last day for putting your name in the proverbial hat, and some of you have, and some of you very much have not.

The race in Saint Andrews looks to me to be the hottest ticket, with two incredibly strong candidates for mayor on offer and a veritable plethora of options for council. In fact, with a mere six council seats up for grabs, there are 16 people vying for those clearly coveted spots.

St. George has a real race on it’s hands as well. With three candidates running for mayor and 12 looking to battle it out for the six council seats, again, we will see some legitimate democracy in action.

Blacks Harbour has a race for mayor with two candidates and an impressive 15 individuals vying for the five council seats.

Grand Manan will see a race for mayor with two candidates, and 17 running for the nine council seats. Campobello is less simple to break down here, with varying positions…but there will be a race for mayor, and a couple of other positions with more than one person in the running. Some seats will be awarded via acclaim.

McAdam will largely be the race that isn’t. The position of mayor will automatically be carried on by current Mayor, Ken Stannix as he is running unopposed, and a small choice of five people offering for the four council seats.

I was surprised in St. Stephen. We have a race for mayor with two candidates, but the entire council of St. Stephen will “win” their seats again through being acclaimed. St. Stephen council has six seats, and with six candidates, the race is off.

In fact, council there will remain largely as is, aside from the loss of Deputy Mayor, Jason Carr, who did not put his name in the hat this time around, and the addition of Vic Thiessen.

So, some democracy in action, some lack thereof. And while I know those who are being acclaimed are highly capable and will do a good job, I’m always disappointed when we, the voting public, aren’t able to flex our democratic muscle.

I’m not sure why there’s such a race some places and little race in others. Maybe it’s indicative of the level of contentment by a municipalities residents. Lots of candidates may indicate unrest, few candidates may indicate contentment. Or apathy. I don’t know.

What I do know is the municipal branch is my favourite on the government tree because it’s the place I most often see actual discussion, decisions, and actions. You can watch it all play out in council meetings. You have the option to speak directly to council. Decisions can be discussed and decided in a single evening. It’s a magical place in comparison to the clogged, almost turning backwards wheels of provincial and federal government.

For this election, as in recent others, the Courier is teaming up with our good friends at CHCO-TV to bring you some election coverage. There will be details to follow, but take every opportunity you can to check out what choices you do have. We’ll also be running lots of coverage of the candidates over the coming editions between now and the election, so get ready to get to know who you will be voting for.

And most importantly, get out and vote on Monday, May 10. Democracy only functions when we engage in it.

Krisi Marples