As we get closer to the municipal election on Oct 27th, I get a sinking feeling. As I knock on door after door, I hear some residents say that they want change in municipal government. However, I don’t hear it as often as I would like. I wish I was hearing that more people were tired of not finding out about public meetings in time to go to them. I wish I was hearing that more people were tired of not knowing what those meetings were about and how the outcome of those meetings would affect them. I wish I was hearing that more people were tired of special council meetings being called one or two days after committee of the whole meetings, so that council could vote something through without the public having any real chance to object or even find out what was being voted on. I wish I was hearing that more people were tired of hearing about a public meeting taking place about a bylaw, going to it to share their concerns and finding out that council was going to vote on it two minutes later and completely ignore the concerns of the residents. I wish I was hearing that more people were tired of inadequate communication from the municipality about what was happening, when it was happening and how it would affect residents. Finally, I wish I was hearing that more people were unhappy that they didn’t feel they had any input into what’s happening or that no one seems to care what residents think any more.
If you want change,you’ve got to be a little louder. If you want change, you’ve got to get involved. If you want change, you’ve got to talk to your friends and neighbours and encourage them to vote for change. If you want change, call up one of the new candidates and donate, volunteer or request a lawn sign. It sounds like I’m asking a lot of you doesn’t it? Well, throughout the history of this country, change has always come on the shoulders of a group of people like you, who were willing to do that extra. These people had a vision of what they wanted and understood that the only way to get what they wanted was they needed to do more to make it happen.
Right now, we sit with three incumbents returning for this election, the mayor and two of the four current councilors. So that means that if all three get voted back in, there may be no change. So, to ensure change in North Grenville, at least one of the incumbent councillors must be voted out. This will be very difficult to do. Some people aren’t aware of what’s happened in our municipality. Some people vote by name recognition and not by the quality of the person running. Experience doesn’t make you a good council candidate. Hard work, integrity, honesty, transparency and communication are very important. But the most important part to me is the understanding that you must continuously talk to, listen to and represent all North Grenville residents. Thinking that because you’ve been on council before means that you know what people want, means you’ve stopped listening to and caring about what residents have to say.
To close, incumbents benefit from the status quo. Incumbents benefit from people that don’t care. Incumbents benefit from people not being informed. Incumbents benefit from name recognition. Incumbents benefit from people not getting involved. Incumbents benefit from low voter turnout. That sounds like a lot to overcome doesn’t it? Frankly, it is. But as always, anything worth having, is worth fighting for. I’ll be fighting for change, will you join me? There’s a lot of work to do and I’ll need a lot of help!