As the doors of the polling station swung shut Monday evening, we awaited word on who will lead the riding and represent our interests in Ottawa. The federal election has caused barely a buzz in Hope. Perhaps the silence reflects small-town voters who hold their politics tight to their chests. Perhaps the silence is a reflection of Average Joe’s disconnect with federal politics, or perhaps it is just reflective of a community satisfied with their current representation. We suspect it is a combination of all three.
With possible provincial election looming on the horizon and a municipal election pencilled in for the fall, hopefully, voter engagement will build as politics moves closer to home.
And the closest politics gets to the people is the ‘Cinderella’ election of mayors and councillors. These politicians impact the day to day lives of residents and bear the brunt of voter discontent. They are paid meager stipends in comparison to the big boys. For the most part they pull open their own wallets to cover campaign costs; no big party coffers to dig into at the small-town level. We phone their homes to complain about their decisions; we grab them in the grocery store aisles to pitch our views.
And yet their decisions and actions are almost fully at the mercy of the province and the Feds, who control the purse strings by targeting grant funding and regularly downloading new rules and regulations onto municipal government.
Always ask for the best from your municipal politicians, but remember that your vote at the provincial and federal levels does have an impact — the province and the Feds steer the course, municipal politicians bail out the boat.