Do we have a governance problem?
Well over 4,000 candidates in the recent Quebec municipal election were elected by acclamation. Eleven municipalities did not elect a mayor. For our MRC Vallée-de-la- Gatineau elections, there were 51 of 120 positions acclaimed – 43 per cent. Three municipalities had no change in governance.
Incredibly, for our MRC of only 20,000 people, there are 102 councillors, 17 mayors and one prefect. Towns all across Canada with this population govern with only one mayor and six councillors. On Nov. 7, 65 per cent of the 1,090 registered voters in Low preferred not to vote – an extremely low turnout.
Everyone knows why.
Three candidates were acclaimed. The four winning candidates obtained an average of 206 votes each – 19 per cent. Eighty-one per cent of the voters did not vote for them.
Still, I am cheering for them to demonstrate success for the citizens including, for a change, keeping tax increases below 3 per cent.
Newly-elected officials in Quebec have two immediate actions to take. First, to schedule themselves for a mandatory taxpayer-paid ethics course to help them tell right from wrong.
Second, to give themselves a pay raise. There is no longer a cap to keep pay raises to the cost of living index. With no limit now, remuneration has greatly increased. An elected official also receives an automatic expense allocation, no proof required, equal to 50 per cent of their pay. If their pay is $10,000, say, then the expense allowance addition is $5,000. Way too much.
Stay alert to see this amazing phenomena.
Do you think we have a municipal governance problem?