Black Press file photo

EDITORIAL: Choose wisely, then go vote

Consider the candidates, their platforms and how they may shape your community

Voting day is almost upon us.

Eligible voters across B.C. get to cast their ballots in municipal elections on Oct. 15. To say it’s an important day would be a massive understatement.

If you check, you’ll find submissions from the City of Port Alberni, Alberni-Clayoquot and School District 70 candidates introducing themselves and explaining why they’re running for council.

Who you vote for is a personal choice. But what should we all look for in our candidates? Here are a few qualities mentioned previously that we should always all look for.

Vision: Not reactive, proactive. The ideal council has goals, aspirations and a plan to get there. They aren’t just there to make informed decisions on issues that come before them, they’re there to set the agenda for the city or town and to move things forward.

Leadership. Every group needs a leader who can break a tie and provide the city/town with a rallying voice. The ideal leader is not just a vote on council, they work to stabilize government—both elected officials and staff—around common goals.

Conviction: It’s easy to be swayed by a room full of people vocally opposed to a position you have taken. But it is important to remember you are tasked with governing the entire city or town. If you believe you have the best information, if you believe something is the right thing to do, make a decision, take the heat and stick with it. We elect people to lead, not to follow an angry crowd.

Good faith: A leader is not someone who can always bring everyone together on an issue. If that is the measure of success, then it will be impossible to achieve. A good leader seeks to bring people together wherever possible, and must make a continued and concerted effort to do so. But there will be times when there are legitimate difference of opinion that cannot be bridged. This is not always a sign of division or discord; it is the natural byproduct of a healthy democracy.

Civility: Civility in politics has been disintegrating at a rapid rate at the provincial and federal level; municipalities can lead the way in improving political discourse.

Well-informed: Public servants do their best work when they have done their homework and considered others’ views. All council members need to come to council prepared. We should always want a diversity of opinions.

The ideal council has members from various walks of life who can bring different viewpoints to the table. A mixture of experiences goes a long way toward full grasping the importance of an issue or decision.

Of course, you’re unlikely to find the perfect candidate. But Oct. 15 represents your chance to have a distinct say in how things run in your community. Choose wisely. Vote.

— Black Press

Alberni ValleyElection 2022

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