Will you be bothered to get off the couch and vote on November 19th?
On November 19th a projected 30% of eligible voters will take 10 minutes out of their day to cast a ballot in the upcoming civic election. Sadly, despite the fact local government is the one that impacts our lives the most on a day-to-day basis, the vast majority of us simply won’t bother to exercise our democratic right.
So far Vancouver’s municipal election has been “occupied” by a single issue – the illegal squat on the front lawn of the Art Gallery. It has transformed what first appeared to be a cakewalk for Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver into a real horse race.
The contest most watched by the media will be the fight over the ten coveted council seats up for grabs on Vancouver council. Currently Robertson has a commanding 10-1 majority in council, but you can expect that to change.
In Delta, incumbent Mayor Lois Jackson is facing a serious challenge from two of her council colleagues. Mayoral candidates Krista Engelland and Heather King have been raising serious concerns regarding the controversial Southlands development and out-of-control spending at city hall.
In New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright is squaring off against James Crosty, a well-respected community activist. In past elections Wright has been able to count on support from the District Labour Council, but it’s unclear whether that will materialize again this year. This battle could go late into the night if Crosty can translate his public profile into votes on Election Day.
Some of the other interesting races to watch include those in which the incumbent mayor is stepping down. That’s why you’ll want to pay close attention to West Vancouver, Port Moody & Pitt Meadows on election night.
I also wouldn’t count out the Township of Langley as being ripe for change on election night. Incumbent Mayor Rick Green has been embroiled in controversy during his first term in office and he may face the wrath of voters as a result.
Not surprisingly, civic elections in places like Surrey, Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Burnaby are expected to be a fait accompli. Incumbents like Surrey’s Mayor Dianne Watts are expected to easily secure another term in office.
If you like municipal services such as local roads, fresh tap water, parks or community centres, I hope you won’t be part of the 70% of voters who decide to stay home on Election Day. Have your say on the future of our region by voting on November 19th!
- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus. This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Thursday, November 10, 2011.