Remember: Your vote will last for 4 years

Dear Neighbour,

While it is always important for you, as a voter and taxpayer, to decide who will represent your interests at City Hall, this election is especially important to you and your fellow citizens.  In the past few years, your mayor and council have had to make some difficult decisions and, as a result, there have been some deep divisions among us.  You have undoubtedly heard or read about  the new Meredith Centre, the Chelsea Creek development and other ‘hot button’ issues that have polarized segments of Chelsea’s citizenry.  Controversy, differences of opinion, debate and, occasionally, heated discussions  are not  new to  politics and good government at any level.

Unlike some candidates, I am not running for office to promote a theme or special interest …I firmly believe that a councillor ‘s role is to champion the interests of the citizens he represents.  Some believe that there is a ‘silent majority’ of residents who are opposed to what the previous city council has done but will not voice their opinion. I believe otherwise. Chelsea’s citizens have never been shy about voicing their opinions when it matters to them…in fact, Chelsea’s citizens have a track record of being very vocal, proactive, socially and environmentally responsible citizens who have championed  causes and promoted ideals that have shaped this municipality and made it what it is today.

As electors, you must remember that your councillor will represent your interests for the next four years and while you may be opposed to or in favour of a particular thing today, your voice must continue be heard over the next 48 months on a variety of other issues, regardless of what opinion your councillor may have had on any given topic at election time.

I am not ‘pro-urbanization’ or anti-Chelsea-Creek; I am interested in finding common ground, sensible compromise and rational dialog. That doesn’t mean I think a councillor needs to conduct an survey every time a question pops up. Democracy is not something that flows from City Hall…it starts with a single voice that says ‘Hey! I have something to say!’  That voice needs to be heard.

If you do not exercise that voice, it loses its power.  Some people say “if you don’t vote, you don’t count” but that’s not the way democracy works. Your ability to effect change is not tied to your democratic right to elect your representatives. That is why the notion of a silent majority, passively accepting decisions it is fundamentally opposed to, appears absurd to me.  Human nature dictates that people will, generally, accept minor annoyances but will readily rise against things they fundamentally disagree with.

Almost all of the people elected this term will be first-time members of your city council. I have served this community for the last 6 years as volunteer firefighter and care for it deeply. I want an effective and thoughtful council to be in place to deal with the important issues our municipality will be facing in the coming 4 years. For this to happen, all citizens need to exercise their civic duty and let their voices be heard. On November 1st, make sure your voice is heard.