ROUSING THE RABBLE: What to be wary of during election

Choosing people for the city council, regional district or school board can be a challenging and somewhat baffling exercise for many.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, eligible voters across B.C. will go to the polls to cast their votes for people to serve on city and town councils, school and regional district boards.

It’s a ritual that is performed every three years and those who are elected will serve a three-year term.

Choosing people for the city council, regional district or school board can be a challenging and somewhat baffling exercise for many. Some candidates have high profiles in the community and are well known, while others are relatively unknown.

Gathering information about candidates in an effort to decide who will serve the people best can be difficult.

An election is not a popularity contest and those who are selected to govern on behalf of everyone should be chosen carefully.

During the next three weeks, voters should be examining the candidates with a critical eye. Will they serve the city, the school district or the regional district well in a decision-making role? What is their stance on issues like taxation and budgeting?

Will they be open and transparent in their dealings with the public? Are they well informed about the issues in their respective jurisdictions?

Municipalities, regional and school districts are operated on behalf of all taxpayers by their respective staffs.

Ensuring that employees have the guidance they need to keep things running smoothly is the work of the governing bodies and it is incumbent on voters to select those who can do the job well.

New candidates have offered their names for a variety of reasons and determining how each of them might behave in council chambers and the boardrooms is in the realm of pure speculation.

A vote for any candidate should be an informed vote but even after reading published platforms and listening to brief comments at all-candidates meetings, doing so will be difficult, so it is wise to be wary.

Be wary of candidates who make promises that can’t be kept. They are made solely to win votes.

Be wary of candidates who talk about growth but do not elaborate.

Be wary of candidates who claim to want to reduce taxes without providing considerable detail on the services that would be cut to accomplish a reduction.

Be wary of candidates who claim to be a “team player.” Effective councils or boards are generally not of one mind and they make better decisions if they honour a diversity of views.

Be wary of a candidate who promises to represent the entire population and make decisions that are the best interests of everyone.

Be wary of a candidate who has a plan to bring life to the downtown business area. The city council can do no more than ensure that there are no barriers to setting up shop. Residents must support local businesses if their doors are to remain open.

Be wary of a candidate who talks about the potential of the area but does not elaborate on what that potential might be.

The message to all voters is a clear one.

Become informed about who will govern on behalf of residents in the East Boundary region during the next three years as best you can.

Vote for the people who have provided some assurance that they will do their utmost to ensure good governance.

Treat the election as much more than a roll of the dice as in the game of craps.

A fragile world economy will have an impact in the Boundary Country during the next three years and it is important that capable people are elected to lead residents carefully through them.

– Roy Ronaghan is a columnist for the Grand Forks Gazette.