This weekend is special. Mark your calendars. It’s municipal election time.
On Saturday, Oct. 20 you have the chance to help decide the future of your community, whether it’s Youbou, or the Town of Lake Cowichan. All you have to do is set aside a few minutes to head to the polling place near you and cast your ballot.
In Lake Cowichan you will be asked to choose one of three candidates for mayor, and four councillors. You will also be asked to choose up to seven people to sit on School District 79’s board. Finally, you will be asked whether you favour the Cowichan Valley Regional District setting up new functions for watershed protection and management ($3.79 per $100,000 assessed value) and affordable housing ($3.87 per $100,000 of assessed value).
In Youbou, the two referendum and the school district votes are the same, while you will be asked to select an area director, from two candidates running, to sit on the CVRD board.
If you don’t think you know enough to cast your vote, check out the Lake Cowichan Gazette website’s Election section, where there are candidate profiles and more.
If you head to www.lakecowichangazette.com you can check out links directly in this editorial.
Even if you don’t think you want to choose four for council, you can choose, say, two. Ditto for school board. But the important thing is that you participate.
In Lake Cowichan all three mayoral candidates are campaigning hard for your vote. The very least you can do, as a citizen of a democracy with the luxury to be able to choose our own leaders, is meet them halfway — in this case, that means at the polling station.
In this country we are incredibly fortunate. We don’t have to risk our lives to vote. We are not under threat of violence when we head to a polling place. We do not have to line up for hours, or even days, in order to have our vote counted. Our candidates don’t have to worry about being assassinated prior to election day. We can be sure that when the results are announced there won’t have been any shenanigans in the counting process — your ballot won’t end up at the bottom of Cowichan Lake, for example, if you don’t vote the way those in power want you to. There are many places in the world where all of the above are problems. And yet people there still fight, literally, for their right to choose their leaders.
In our Canadian towns and cities, where you can stroll right in, get your ballot, and be out of there within 10 minutes, there’s really no excuse not to take our responsibility as citizens seriously.