/Democracy needs you

Democracy needs you

By Darren Lum

Not all of us can run for office, but we can still contribute to democracy.
We do that by informing ourselves of the candidates and then go out and vote for who we want to represent us. It’s pretty straight forward. The Times will help with this by providing political biographies, as seen with the Algonquin Highlands candidates this week and then will follow-up with the candidates vying for political positions for the Township of Minden Hills. Earlier this year we ran a series of stories on labour shortages affecting different sectors. A lack of housing has come up as a major contributor.
This upcoming municipal election on Oct. 24 is an opportunity to not just be part of the democratic process, but to show how engaged we are as a population.
The last provincial election was an embarrassment with record low voter turnout. Only 43.5 per cent of eligible voters bothered to cast their votes. From 10.7 million registered voters, there were just 4.6 million votes cast. The previous low was in 2011 when just 48 per cent of voters voted. Close to two million votes decided the government for the next four years in Ontario. Let’s ensure we don’t have a repeat in the Highlands. It’s’ important to have representation by everyone for the upcoming municipal election. We need to show the rest of the province we’re better than that. It is within us to vote. I’ve seen it before in my career and we can do it again.

I say kudos to the men and women who have stepped up to throw their hat in the ring for their respective wards and positions. Without you we wouldn’t have anyone to vote for. Being a politician at any level is unenviable position when it comes to trying to make everyone happy. You just can’t. It’s as simple as that. I’m sure I’m not alone in challenging the candidates to be open, honest and transparent. Everyone makes mistakes, but owning up to them isn’t always the modus operandi.

So, as a resident voting really is the least you can do.
Of course, you have the right not to vote. It’s a freedom we have always enjoyed. However, is it really what we need now? Particularly when public apathy for politics feels like it’s at an all-time high. We need to stem this pessimistic tide and create the necessary momentum for a new era when people can care about democracy. The less we care as a population the more politicians can operate with impunity.
It’s worth crediting the Rotary Club of Minden for stepping up to organize an all-candidates meeting for Minden Hills candidates, which also is expected to have acclaimed representatives. Scheduled for Oct. 3 at the Minden Community Centre, located at 55 Parkside Street, the meeting starts at 7 p.m. Live streaming is not expected and questions can be asked by people who come to the meeting,
Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.”