Are you fed up with a municipal council, as a whole? Do you feel a council member is not doing what is best for the community? Could council be more representative of the community it was elected to serve? Or is all fine and dandy and peachy keen with your elected council members? Well, it just so happens municipal elections in Alberta will be held throughout the province Oct. 18.
2021 is the year to take out the proverbial trash and/or re-elect those on municipal councils with “the right stuff.” Voters have a voice, come October. It’s best one uses their voice for change, if needed. Or perhaps one is content with the status quo? Either way, citizens will have an opportunity to head to the polls to elect their choices for leadership. If you think you’d like to step in the ring or put your name in the hat to sit on a council this fall, nominations for the general election will be open between now and Sept. 20.
There’s no better time to start learning about a community’s council than now! Start reading the local news about what’s been going on council-wise. Contact currently-sitting council members to get the 4-1-1 on important topics that are of interest to you and your community. Find out what councillors have been active, involved and sincere about representing the community-atlarge. Sure, some of a sitting council now, may not resemble it’s present lineup come October – but, it doesn’t hurt to become informed about municipal politics and be prepared.
Local politics are actually quite important, as they affect each and every citizen’s every day life. Often, local politics are an afterthought, when council makes decisions about where you reside. You may work in the community, your kids may attend school in your community and you might, as a family or flying solo, enjoy a community’s amenities from time to time. Municipal councils decide on issues that may be vitally important to you. Why then, do many citizens not take local politics seriously? It’s so easy these days to be an informed citizen. Especially now, most municipal councils live stream their meetings and staff and council members always preach about their desire to be transparent and accountable. Voters have the ability to be a catalyst for change.
Maybe you’re thinking about taking on the role and responsibility of sitting on council. It’s best to make sure to know the ins and outs of being a member of a municipal council. There’s a lot to it and a decision one shouldn’t make lightly. It’s a sacrifice and is often a thankless position. It becomes many years of your life for a term. It’s a volunteer commitment like no other, but you also become an elected official. With that, there are perks and repercussions from your actions and/or inaction. Like any new job, there’s a learning curve and sometimes long-term council members need to know when to retire and call it a day, after serving on a council for many years. There needs to be a balance when it comes to any politics.
Politics are a divided entity. Nobody has the exact set of values, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, etc. Politics are a collaborative game with a supposed collective mindset to work in the best interests of the community it serves. A council member needs to be adaptive, versatile, confident, assertive and have an ability to see the other side of the coin and evolve. Being too set in a potential council member’s ways is not a favourable attribute to exhibit when seeking a seat at a council’s table. Sure, one can stick to their guns if it needs to be done, but for the most part, a council member needs to be able to bend and make compromises for the better good. They may be wrong, and that is OK. One can learn from their mistakes and hopefully use that knowledge to move forward in any setting.