If you think it’s broken, help fix it

Get to know your local government politicians while we still live in a democracy.

SMALL BUT FEISTY and ready to protect their territory

If you’re the type of person who counts living in this fine country as one of their blessings, then you already know that we enjoy many aspects of life that people in other countries can’t even dream of.

Add local elections to that. Yes, be thankful that we are able to hold peaceful elections and choose a politician to represent us.

Thousands of people – perhaps millions – would, and have, fight to have that privilege. At one time, segments of our own population struggled against the powers that were, at great risk to themselves, to be able to vote.

Because they knew that without a vote, they had no voice. They could not support a candidate, they could not influence decision-making.

It’s apalling to see how indifferent we’ve become to elections. How skeptical we view the entire process and use that to justify ignoring the entire thing. The view is that it’s broken, it doesn’t work and who cares?

It might be enlightening to transport these folks to a country where elections either don’t take place, or their outcomes are determined before the ballots are even printed.

This is Local Government Awareness Week in BC (May 18-24). Local government includes not only municipal governments – like Ashcroft, Cache Creek or Clinton Council, but also school boards and the trustees who are elected to them, and regional district directors such as the ones who sit around the board table at the TNRD.

Local governments provide communities with essential infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, water, schools, public safety and recreation. In 2012, B.C.’s local governments spent about $8.1 billion, helping to support economic growth, create jobs, stimulate investment, attract people and sustain a high quality of life.

Living in our small towns means that most of us know at least one elected official. Take the time, next time you see them, to ask them what they do as a councillor or a trustee. And then plan to vote on Nov. 15.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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