Sunday, July 21, 2024

The Candidates Have Had Their Say, Now it is Your Turn

By Stephen Vance, Editor

After numerous candidate meetings and debates, Soap Box Saturdays, The Meaford Independent Election Guide, and countless doors knocked upon, the candidates for the 2014 municipal election have had plenty of opportunity to have their say, and to make their views and visions known.

At The Independent, we have always valued the views and input of our readers. Next month we celebrate five years since we first launched our little paper, and in those five years we have published nearly 700 letters from our readers.

Election time is an especially important time for our readers to make their views known, so we have dedicated four pages of this week’s print edition to letters we have received over the last two weeks – some have been published online, some are being published exclusively in our print paper. Some are short and sweet, others are long and exhaustively researched, and all, whether we agree with them or not, are valued expressions that deserve a platform.

During this election we have attempted to provide as much information as possible to our readers. Our 20 page special edition Election Guide introduced you to the 20 candidates running for council. We established a candidate information centre at our office where candidates were offered the opportunity to drop off their campaign brochures and cards so that Meaford residents could have a one-stop shop to gather that information. We followed that with opportunities to engage one on one with the candidates at our Soap Box Saturday events.

Now to complete the election engagement and information, we offer this collection of letters from our readers.

Our hope is that with all of the information and opportunities to get to know the candidates over the last several weeks, our readers will be able to make informed decisions when casting their ballots.

The voting period began on October 17, and will end at 8 pm on Monday, October 27. With the new electronic voting system, the municipal Clerk anticipates that we will have full results just a half hour after the voting period ends.

Once the results have been announced, the end of the current council begins, and in early December the new council will be sworn in.

Some current members of council may return after this election, and there will most certainly be some new faces at the council table in December. One member of council who is definitely not returning is Mayor Francis Richardson, who opted out of this election making way for a new mayor, and possibly a new direction for this municipality.

Richardson’s term as mayor often felt like a roller coaster ride. Not one of those fancy new roller coasters with loops and terrifying heights, but more like the rickety wooden roller coasters of days gone by. Some ups (getting the financial house in order, establishing a stable staff complement, provincial leadership in waste diversion), some downs (entertaining a waste incinerator proposal, irate rural residents calling for de-amalgamation, lawsuits and more lawsuits), every now and then a tight twist or turn (cell tower debates, an early end to the much loathed five-year plan), and a slow crawl to the end with riders not entirely convinced that they want to go again.

For all of the public outcry throughout this council term, for all of the fumbles, there have also been successes. Let’s hope that the next council has fewer fumbles, and much more success – but that is up to you. Whatever happens with this election, it is entirely in your hands – the voter. Cast your ballots wisely, and help your friends and neighbours who might feel intimidated by the new electronic voting. All votes are valuable, and it would be a shame to have people declining to vote because they have fears about the electronic voting process.

The creation of the next council begins with the following link, use it well:

Be the 1st to vote.

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