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Our View: Stop abdicating responsibility for your own governance

Over the past week two stories have once again brought the importance of local political participation forcefully to mind.

Over the past week two stories have once again brought the importance of local political participation forcefully to mind. 

In Irricana, the local council held its first public hearing in years, (a move toward greater transparency which we applaud), to discuss an important new land use bylaw which will fundamentally rewrite the way the Town does business, but only one concerned voter showed up to complain. Two sent letters. That’s not enough public feedback for a council to know if they have made the right moves or not. 

People often complain that they are not consulted by their local community councils on issues which matter to them, and in many small communities unfortunately only about half of citizens vote every four years, and then seem to be content to delegate all responsibility for their own governance with little to no oversight. 

All we can say is when citizens abdicate their local oversight duties for their elected representatives by not participating in the municipal process, they are likely to get what they deserve, even if it is not what they want.

Another case this week is the Village of Beiseker, which sadly lost Coun. Karen Ursu earlier this summer. The Village is seeking to hold a byelection to replace her seat on council Sept. 20. As of press time on Friday, not one local candidate had yet come forward to try for the nomination. 

Having all your seats filled on your local governing council is a fundamental of a well-functioning democracy. Yes, there is a time commitment which needs to be made. There is work to do. But it is work on behalf of your own community– to better the place where you live. What could be more important than that? 

We all lead busy lives, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. But it does not take much to check out your community’s website or read the public notices in the newspaper weekly to keep yourself abreast of what is happening in your community.

Being informed comes first. Being actively involved in your local municipal government hopefully comes later. 

But you can’t have one without the other– people just need to make the effort.


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