When the results came in for this past municipal election last Monday, some were happy with the make-up of the new council, while others complained that there were too many familiar faces.
I started working at this job in the summer of 2016 and an important part of what I do involves working on social media. I read a lot of the comments and a common thread I’ve seen on stories that I’ve done about municipal politics are complaints about how things are run. This actually made me very optimistic for this year’s election. When people are complaining, that to me tells me that they want change, and if someone wants change then they should get out and vote. This is not what happened however.
The residents of Cornwall did not get out and vote. Only 38 percent of the total potential voters went to the polls and of those, only 4.7 percent were under the age of 30. Nearly 60 percent of all voters in Cornwall in this election were over the age of 60.
What I’m about to say is not meant to take away anything from the ability of these men to serve as councillors, but I think a real reason why so many former councillors did well in this election, was because the older generation recognized their names. A lot of people who voted likely remembered names like Syd Gardiner, Glenn Garry Grant and Denis Carr because they voted for these names 12 and 20 years ago.
I saw excuses posted in the comments section of our story on voter turnout on Facebook. Some said that they could find the time to go out and vote. There was advanced polling open several times starting on Oct. 11 at three different locations. I voted in advance on Friday, Oct. 12. I was the only one in the polling station and was out again in five minutes. Additionally, employers are required by law to give paid time for their employees to go and vote. Voting is a right and not a privilege.
Others commented that there were no good candidates to vote for in this election. There were 30 candidates running for council and four running for Mayor and out of all of those candidates people can claim that there wasn’t a single one they could bring themselves to vote for? If anyone truly believes that there were no good candidates running in this past election, then I would have dearly liked to see them run for office themselves, because they really must be something special.
The worst excuse I probably heard as to why someone didn’t vote is because they either didn’t know the issues or felt that the election did not connect with them. This statement is just wrong.
Municipal government is the most important level of government in your lives. When Justin Trudeau went to India, the cost of the trip and some of the events that transpired
made national headlines, but it didn’t affect the lives of few if any people in Cornwall. What does affect the lives and the future of residents in Cornwall? Property taxes, the development of the waterfront, and maintenance of infrastructure affect the lives of people in Cornwall every day.
If Trudeau cancels Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia tomorrow it will likely not affect anyone in Cornwall, but if a watermain breaks in front of someone’s house because the City hasn’t spent enough on infrastructure maintenance, that does have a local impact.
What do you think readers? Why was voter turnout so low this time around? Were there really no good candidates? Email me a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org