October 4, 2022
Love your city but not its services? Here is your chance to change that! Vote in the Upcoming Municipal Elections scheduled for October, 15th 2022. Regardless of where you live in the lower mainland, you will have the opportunity to elect representatives to your city council, Office of the Mayor and School Trustee Boards.
Although Canadians tend to be less interested in municipal elections in comparison to federal and provincial, its policies largely impact our wellbeing! Due to the nature of governance in Canada, it can sometimes be confusing to determine which level of government does what. As such, here is where and how municipal government policies affect us and why you should care:
- Community Vitality– Municipalities are responsible for neighbourhood planning, managing community centres, events, festivals and coordinating, planning and executing events geared towards creating opportunities and safe spaces for interaction among diverse community groups. They make by-laws affecting businesses, noise and land use.
- Health: Municipalities are responsible for rules and regulations regarding food safety at our local restaurants, health inspections and running programmes that helps to educate community members on their health
- Environment: The Municipal council is responsible for making policies regarding waste management (garbage collection & recycling), water supply and quality, how well green spaces are incorporated in our cities through city planning and design among others.
- Leisure and Culture: Municipalities are responsible for parks and recreation, promoting programmes in the arts and culture and ensuring that in city planning, recreation is incorporated into its design so that members of the community can have places to rest and relax. They also oversee civic theatres.
- Democratic Engagement: If you have observed closely, it is only at the municipal level of government do citizens get the opportunity to openly speak directly to elected officials. This is because municipal councils are largely responsible for ensuring that we are engaged politically. By organising citizens’ committees, planning open houses and public hearings, municipalities help increase our knowledge and participation in democratic governance.
- Education: At the city level, we elect locals to sit on school boards to help advocate for public education. Municipalities ensure that there is public access to lifelong public education and ensure that policies and programmes are geared towards student achievement.
- Living Standards: Some municipalities like the New Westminster City council make policies regarding living wage. This is very vital in this current climate where the cost of living appears to be ever-increasing. These by-laws can be vital in determining the quality of life we live in our local communities. Additionally, city councils also grant building permits, determine how much we pay in property taxes and ensure that there is snow removal in a city that appears to come to a standstill when there is little snow.
- Mobility and Transit: Do you want Vancouver to go green ASAP? Then participate in the upcoming municipal elections because it is at this level of government where decisions regarding public transit are made- whether transit is faster, less congested, use low emission vehicles; whether we have more bike lanes, trails, street lights, sidewalks among others.
As outlined above, the decisions taken at the municipal level are directly relevant to us and affect our day-to-day lives due to their proximity. They determine what services we get, when we get them, how we get them and ultimately, who gets to utilise these services.
Join us in a debate on SFU Surrey Campus on the 6th of October from 1pm- 4pm and hear from the candidates contesting the Surrey Mayoral race! Register here
Can’t make it or live in Burnaby? Then join us on October 13th for the Burnaby City Councillors’ debate from 3:30 to 6:30pm in the SUB.
Make it a point to cast your vote in the local municipal elections! Cast your vote during advance voting days, vote by mail, or vote on election day, the 15th of October. Because when we understand, care and decide who runs our municipal councils, then we begin to know who to hold accountable for what.
Check out the candidates for the Burnaby City Council here
That of Surrey City Council here
And Vancouver City Council here
Vote, Vote, Vote because it is our civic responsibility.