Last week a friend and fellow toastmaster Christin Fraser delivered a short speech on the impact of voting in the upcoming municipal elections. I was impressed by her “to the point” presentation and asked for a copy of her speaking notes to be used in our blog. Christen researched her topic well and has put together a strong argument for the need to vote in municipal elections. I hope you find this useful in deciding whether you will be voting this year.
Christin writes, In our most recent local municipal elections, only 30% of the eligible votes went out and voted 30%. 30%!!! 3 of every 10 people. Why do you think so many people don’t vote in the municipal elections?
When asked the most common reasons people gave were:
- No interest
- Politicians don’t listen
- My vote doesn’t make a difference
- I don’t know anything about politics or the candidates
- None of it affects me
- Politicians are all crooks
- I don’t have time
Sound like you? Well, you’re right about some of these things, some of the time. But there are other ways to think about politics. I am going to present 10 reasons you should vote in the upcoming municipal election.
1. Your vote could make the difference in who gets elected. Don’t take my word for it. In the Canadian Federal election of 2000, four ridings were won by less than 100 votes. That’s why they say every vote counts.
2. Your health could depend on it. While funding for hospitals and medical personnel comes from the federal and provincial levels, many community health services are actually provided through your municipal government. And if you have an accident or emergency, “who ya gonna call”? Ambulance services are provided by your municipality.
3. Your safety & security could depend on it. What is the biggest operation of local government? Usually it’s police and fire protection. The level of service provided in these areas is directly decided by local politicians.
4. Your neighborhood could depend on it. Dense urban growth, big box centers, speed bumps, traffic lights, parks and recreation facilities. What your neighborhood looks like today could be changed tomorrow by one zoning by-law amendment.
5. Your property values could depend on it. Decisions on the location of sewage treatment facilities, institutional properties, roads, garbage dumps, even pig farms are made at the local level. Something may not smell right in your neighborhood unless you vote.
6. Your environment could depend on it. One big issue in front of many municipalities is the use of pesticides. How much green space does our community need? Can we afford to cut down more trees to make way for more development?
7. Your taxes could depend on it. Your property tax rates are determined by local council. The services they support are funded by your property taxes. Any increase in taxes or decrease in services all depends on who you vote in!
8. Your children’s education could depend on it. A newly-elected School Board will make some crucial decisions about your children’s education in the next few years. They will be looking at more than just school closures and bussing decisions — in fact, everything from A to Z in the education system will be on the table. Who are you going to trust with that responsibility?
9. Your recreation could depend on it. Whether you walk your dog, swim at the pool, skate on the outdoor rink, belong to a community garden or just visit the library with your kids, your leisure time could be greatly affected by who gets elected in October. We all know there is more to life than work, but we may not be able to afford to do anything if user fees are introduced or increased for public facilities.
10. Your community may depend on it.
If the other nine reasons haven’t yet convinced you, then do it for your own self-interest. Just so that when they bulldoze the soccer field where you walk your dog to put up a condo development, you can strut over to your neighbors and tell them that you voted against the Councilor who supports this project. Vote for yourself.
Remember, voting is a privilege and not a right. If you don’t vote, you don’t have any say in what happens and you can’t complain because you didn’t do anything to try to change your city. On October 25th, get your friends, family, business associates together and go vote!
Thanks Christin for letting me reprint this.
Robert J. Weese
Christin Fraser is an Account Manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Christin works closely with local business people in the Durham Region. She helps businesses secure funding to help purchase realty, buy equipment, finance working capital and buy busineses. The advantage of BDC is loans are on a non-demand basis and BDC can provide high leverage and long amortization on commercial loans. Contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-666-8153.