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Voters need to see through election posturing

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Taber Times

In the run up to an election, be it municipal, provincial or federal, voters face the challenge of trying to sort out the real message amid the political babble.

This is more so on a federal level where the various parties take out print, radio and television advertisements to not only sell their platform but to attack that of their opposition.

On the provincial level that has become more common place in recent years but fortunately it still doesn’t seem to be popping up on the municipal stage. For the most part, our local municipal candidates don’t openly launch verbal attacks on their opponents.

There might be a few candidates who are a little more inclined to issue a few strongly worded statements to challenge the sitting members of council but overall the municipal election race is a pretty straight forward race.

So the challenge for voters is to gain a clear picture of what a candidate is seeking to accomplish as a member of a town or village council. Voters should be asking themselves a few key questions as they weigh the merit of each of the candidates seeking to represent them on council.

There are a few key questions to consider. Are they a one-issue candidate, trying to get on council to make sure the administrator is sent packing or their street gets new sidewalks?

It seems every election there will be few candidates that sign up because they are not happy about the way a municipality has dealt with them over tax issues or public works issues such as roads, town utilities or bylaw enforcement. It may be a single issue like dogs running at large or concerns over traffic congestion or speeding through town.

It’s generally easy to see they have an agenda and are more focused on seeing it through than doing what is best for the community in general.

Serving on a municipal council is not an easy job and comes with a whole bushel of issues to be dealt with. A one-issue council member soon finds out their one issue doesn’t not come with an easy fix and they are generally non-effective on council because they can’t see past their one issue.

Another question to consider is how effective will a candidate be in a council setting? Over the years there have been community leaders who have been very good at leading in other capacities, be it business, community groups or even church positions. While they may be affective as chairman of this or president of that, being a member of council requires the ability to work as a group for the overall betterment of the community.

This means making tough decisions sometimes that may not sit well with your neighbours or your own family members but might be for the best for the overall community.

Sometimes being able to make the tough decisions is the hardest part of being a member of a municipal council. Setting aside your personal views in favour of what is best for the majority of residents is not an easy task but it is key to sitting on a town or village council.

As voters head to the polls in less than two weeks, they must consider which candidates can get the job done even when doing the job is not easy.

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