Two good opportunities to check out local candidates

In one case, potential voters don't even have to leave their homes.

Langley residents had a chance to check out their local candidates at two forums last week, and there are two more chances to do so this week.

One is tonight at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre, and the second is tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Langley Township council chambers.

The sense I have in speaking to many people is that they are paying a little bit of attention to the provincial election — but not a lot. While most people that I’ve spoken to plan to vote, there are a significant number who do not plan to do so. They simply are not engaged.

As noted in this column last week, there are plenty of good candidates to choose from in both Langley ridings. There is now a Green candidate (Lisa David) in Fort Langley-Aldergrove, so the four parties have candidates in each riding. Independent Kevin Mitchell is also running in Fort Langley-Aldergrove.

Tuesday’s meeting at Langley Seniors Resource Centre (7 p.m.) is sponsored by Langley Teachers Association, with other groups also involved — PIPE-UP Network, Kwantlen Student Association and Coalition of Child Care Advocates. It is a traditional candidates’ meeting with statements, questions and answers.

Wednesday’s meeting (it starts at 7 p.m.) will be different. Three members of the media (I’m one of them) will pose questions to candidates, and we have planned to make it a little more fast-paced and not quite so predictable. There will also be a chance to meet candidates individually, starting at 6 p.m.

It will also be streamed live online. That makes it accessible to anyone who wants to watch it on their computer. To see it, go to http://southfrasercarp.blogspot.ca.

This is a significant advancement. Many people do not go to these meetings simply because they don’t have the time. With web streaming, they can watch from home or work, at a time when it suits them.

The Times is also posting videos featuring local candidates on our website, which will give potential voters an additional chance to see them on camera.

Voting in a provincial election isn’t difficult. Elections BC has made it easy to vote ahead of the actual election date of Tuesday, May 14 (see Elections BC’s website for details) and voters only have to choose one candidate off a much shorter list than they have in municipal elections.

People vote for a wide variety of reasons, and many vote for the party or party leader, rather than the local candidate. While that is a perfectly acceptable approach to take, it is worthwhile to find out more about the local candidates who are running.

For those who do not plan to vote, that is certainly your right. However, given the level of taxation that we all pay, and the way that government has edged its way into our lives more and more over recent decades, I’d suggest there are few good reasons not to vote. There are candidates running who are close to your point of view. Search for them, and think long and hard about whether this is a good time to start voting.

Langley Times