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Fair Representation?

I don’t think that it is any secret that I have put myself on the block and have committed to running for Town Council for the 2010-2014 term in Rivers Manitoba. Do I have any political experience? Not in the least. Am I a smooth-talking politician with the popular vote? Not even close, actually if we were to take a poll I am probably one of the least liked people in my community – I have no misconceptions about how my personality and shoot-from-the-hip attitude often rubs people the wrong way, I am completely aware of it but I am also aware that it is a part of me that makes me, me and I am not willing to change just to appease the masses. People may not like me much, but my actions in the past can assure them of one thing – they can trust me to always do what I say and stand behind my words, actions and opinion, whether they are popular or not. The stand I take on an issue will never be dependant on the company I keep and will never bow, bend or break due to pressure, coercion or outright bullying – if I haven’t proved that in the past 6 months alone, then I probably never could.

This blog isn’t meant to be a campaign speech because unfortunately I realize that much like high school, municipal politics in a small town are very similar to a high school popularity contest. Who do you like more? Who will tell you what you want to hear and who are the popular kids that you want to like you? Too often people will go to the polls and check the name that is most familiar to them, without even considering who will do the best job of representing their and their family’s interests over the next four years. The one thing I am hoping to do with this election, whether I win or not is to change the way people engage their community and demand fair representation at the municipal level because let’s face it – that is where it really counts. Provincial and federal elections can generate a great deal of excitement, but it is the day-to-day matters in our own communities that effect the quality of our every day lives and that is where we really need to get involved and understand what is going on.

Did you know that there is no provincial or municipal by-law preventing family members and even spouses from runnig for and sitting together on council? Most people in Rivers will know that since in the past 4 years we have had just that – a councillor married to our Mayor. Is that fair? Some may say yes, some may say no and some will say that it depends on the couple and their integrity. I say – it shouldn’t matter. In a town the size of Rivers with roughly 1200 people, we are represented by 6 councillors and a Mayor – these individuals are supposed top represent the interests of all the people in the community – from all walks of life, all demographics and all backgrounds. as individuals. While most will say that being married or being siblings or being parent-child has no influence on a person’s ability to act as an individual, I don’t believe that is true. At the best of times, it allows the people involved in this conflict to argue their own case with each other in private, at the worst it influences a vote based on personal agendas or pressures.

What if we had two couples on council or three? If 4 out of 7 or even 6 out of 7 representatives on our council were intertwined with each other – how fair would that be? Would that limit those people that they could fairly represent? Would it turn a council meeting into a family affair. a dynasty or are people comfortable with only two or three family’s having control over what happens in their town, with their taxes, their community? I know I am not, but when it comes time for elections, every person needs to make that decision for themselves, because if the option arises to choose to allow family members on council, it is really only up to the voters to protect themselves and ensure their own fair representation.

My true feelings about this up coming election are these: I don’t care if people vote for me or not – what matters the most to me is that people come out and vote, making informed decisions and choosing what they honestly feel is best for them, their family and their community, that the next four years they can rest assured that they will be fairly represented in their community. If that includes me on Rivers’ council, that will be great and I will do my best for them, if it doesn’t – that is ok too because that is what a democracy is all about. What I really, REALLY care about is that everyone in this and every community realizes that they matter, that regardless of ages, economic or social status, employment or culture, that THEY have a voice and that they can use it, especially on election day.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 at 1:38 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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