Opinion

Staying the same

Maple Ridge has decided to stick with the modest requirement of only two signatures on a candidate’s nomination form, instead of a possible 10 signatures.

Council decided at a recent meeting after a motion from Coun. Cheryl Ashlie to remain at two, as Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board recently decided to do.

The decision puts the district at odds with Pitt Meadows, which has opted for requiring 10 signatures.

One of the points made was that the 10 signatures would reveal who those people support in the election. That’s a faulty assumption. Just because someone signs nomination papers doesn’t mean he or she will vote for that candidate.

It’s true that the public decides (that is about a third of the eligible voters who bother) who gets elected to council for the next four years.

But what’s happening increasingly is that while the number of candidates grows – to a ridiculous 28 in the 2011 election – the number of voters shrinks.

Requiring at least 10 signatures would have whittled out the frivolous candidates and reduced the list, making it easier for voters to understand.

Another step which could have drawn public  interest was to add referendum questions to the ballot, as proposed by mayoralty candidate Graham Mowatt. Couns. Corisa Bell and Bob Masse wanted to explore the idea, and at least discuss it, but to no avail.

Apart from more flexibility in choosing polling stations, council has let slip an opportunity to try new measures.

As result, council ensures nothing will change in Maple Ridge and voter turnout will continue to wane. It shows a failure of imagination, resolve and creativity by most on council who just want to keep things as they are.

 

– The News

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