Think October for a moment
It’s tempting, on today’s publication date, July 4, to weigh in on almost everything we’re hearing from our southern neighbours, but let’s use their situation to remember the power of a single election.
Ours is coming in October, in three months. Can we really afford the usual -- waiting until the last half-hour, metaphorically, to consider what we might want from our next government? This one time we really have our politicians’ ears, we’re distracted and quiet?
The polls say there is instability within voter intentions. Political-minded readers know this, but many of our neighbours don’t and may participate only last-minute, with only exceedingly basic expectations.
What issues are close to your – and everyone’s -- hearts? What needs improving in Gatineau? Healthcare? Inter-provincial economics? Saving the Deschênes Rapids ruins?
What needs focus (education, mental health?), what needs some assertiveness from our deputies (Chalk River’s radioactive dump?), and what needs more funding (or less)?
With “Government” itself under scrutiny, do we need downsizing or expanded public services? More contracting out or less? Localizing services or concentrating decision-making?
One regional mayor wants municipal reform moved to the front burner. Québec’s association of municipalities wants changes, mostly funding to match downloaded responsibilities -- plus slowing the centralization of management.
On reform, Mayor Jim Gibson, Rapides des Joachims, Pontiac MRC, suggests a mandatory course on municipal government for anyone even to be eligible to run for local office -- and that candidates for mayor must have a certain amount of council experience.
Considering Québec’s anti-corruption investigations of the last decade, the mayor wants reform of public office and criminal records. Should a criminal record affect a person’s qualification for office?
Voting reform? There’s a dynamite topic! (I’d like a “none of the above” choice on all ballots.) What about public contentedness – or alienation? Let’s see some genuine research on the extent and causes of political disengagement. Are voters so content with their lives and incomes that elections have become irrelevant? Or is their discouragement justified, after years of promises and glad-handing? Some remedial action here?
With a million questions, why is Aylmer and Gatineau, all, so silent?
What do we want the social-media revolution to become? (Communications are provincial.) And will we watch for social-media meddling in our own election? That’s claimed in Ontario’s vote, manipulation from south of the border. Are we alert to this?
Are school boards functioning as they should, and, if so, why are so many local kids under-educated? Should the SAQ be privatized? What about selling cannabis? So many questions, issues!
As for our choices, candidates, the election period is not open, but individuals can make public announcements – the Pontiac Green Party named its 2019 candidate already. Let’s hear from individuals interested in the issues and the campaign, now, rather than having everything shoe-horned into a short campaign. Your suggestions?
Once the campaign is upon us, we’ll be targets of Official Messaging, flooded by the parties, interest groups and their PR firms.