Monday, 18 October 2010

Are Municipal Elections a Waste of Time?

Hands up if you live in a smaller community and have no idea who is running for your town/regional/city council and what their platforms are.

Yeah, me too. My local Cambridge "newspaper" (and I use that term loosely) is a complete waste of time, especially if you want current, useful information about anything, including elections. No candidates have come by, no flyers have been distributed. I have no idea how many people are running, or what the issues are. I'm in a black hole information void. As an active netizen that follows political news from across the spectrum, it is a very obvious hole in my information gathering.

Apparently Rogers TV has been hosting debates on its community channel, but I'm a Bell TV customer, so I don't get that channel. I also find out about the debates AFTER they occurred, never before.

So come voting day, how am I supposed to vote? I cannot in any realistic way make a rational decision on who to vote for.

Outside the shout-fest that is the Toronto mayors race (a race I know way too much about, btw), I have no idea what is going on in my own city or region. I suspect almost 100% of Waterloo region residents are suffering the same dearth of information. Is this a unique issue to Waterloo, or are other communities suffering the same fate?

I have to conclude our municipal election is a sham. It won't be representative, it won't have the support of the majority of citizens, and there's no valid review of the people "chosen" to represent us. It is democracy in name only.

We're in a new world where traditional means of campaign information dispersal no longer apply. Should the municipality be mandated to provide election coverage to all its citizens? Do we solve the dearth of information, or do we change the system itself?

Something needs to be done, because the system we have is begging to be corrupted beyond all recognition as a legitimate citizens forum.

1 comment:

Ken Breadner said...

My issue with municipal politics is and always has been that it is, in fact, a waste of time. The garbage will get picked up and the roads will be cleared no matter who the mayor is; the Wal-Marts of the world will bribe the city and get their way no matter who's on council (and the citizens who protested the Wal-Mart in droves will flock there in droves when it opens).