By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 11, 2018
2018 is an Olympic year, and, equally as exciting, it’s also a municipal election year in Ontario.
Please, contain yourselves, ladies and gentlemen.
OK, so municipal elections may be slightly less exciting than ski jumping or skeleton luge. It’s also true that municipal elections tend to excite people less than federal and provincial ones, and that municipal politics, in general, may be less exciting than federal and provincial politics, with their warring partisan tribes and televised theatrics.
But they are no less important. Arguably, the decisions of municipal councils have a greater bearing on our day-to-day lives, as those decisions pertain to utilitarian matters of infrastructure, waste disposal, public facilities, etc.
Generally, anyone who can vote in a municipal election can run in one. To vote in one, you must be 18 or older, a Canadian citizen, and a resident, property owner or tenant of the given municipality, or the spouse of a property owner or tenant.
If you are passionate about parks, randy for road maintenance or coo-coo for cultural planning, maybe this is the year to consider throwing your proverbial hat in the ring. Or maybe you have a friend or neighbour you think would make a good addition to a local municipal council. Now is the time to let them know.
After changes made by the province last year, the municipal election process will be shorter than it was previously, which is not a bad thing. While previously candidates could register at the start of the year, thereby initiating a nearly year-long campaign, for this year’s election, the earliest registration date will be May 1, with the registration period closing July 27. Elections take place Oct. 22.
As voters, it’s time to take stock of the past three-plus years, of what municipal councils have or have not achieved, if you feel your local government is shaping your community in the way you want to see it shaped.
If you are not a regular follower of local politics, this year is a good time to start. Familiarize yourself with what is happening in your community. Familiarize yourself with the candidates who, come springtime, will begin putting their names forward to be your ward councillor, or your mayor. Ask questions. Attend all-candidates’ meetings. Get involved.
Municipal politics may not be as exciting as a bobsled race, but they’re a lot more important.