Exercise your democratic muscles on Nov. 15

Dear editor,

“Local government is the hell’s kitchen of sustainability.”

That’s what a former mayor of Nanaimo once said to anyone who would listen, to anyone who doubted the importance of municipal government. Her name was Joy Leach, she was a mentor to me, and she was a strong advocate for people getting out to vote, and getting educated on the issues. Joy passed away this fall. Her legacy was a body of important work on sustainability in B.C., particularly the “Georgia Basin” – Vancouver Island, the Salish Sea, and the Lower Mainland. Her other legacy was to encourage people to take local government seriously.

Local government is still where so much that is important hits the road. Yet in many B.C. communities voter turnout is significantly less than 40 per cent. Let’s change that on Nov. 15.

Municipal government doesn’t get much respect – from any of us: citizens complain endlessly about services and taxes, and senior levels of government download and squeeze.

We don’t vote.

We complain. We don’t like the results we’re getting. But we’re not doing much to change things.

Nov. 15 is our opportunity to exercise our “democratic muscles,” to elect mayors, councillors, school district trustees, and regional district directors who will start taking steps towards more sustainable decisions. If we “up” the voter turnout, maybe they’ll even be moved to stand up to senior levels of government that don’t take them seriously.

My small homage to Joy Leach is to encourage people to think about the important issues facing local government (long-term, sustainable land use planning, long-term community economic development, long-term community quality of life) and to get out and vote. Wherever I can I’m using the tag #VoteNov15 to pass on this message.

FMI on where to vote etc. see

bit.ly/1vz7kmt

Hans Peter Meyer

Courtenay