By Sue Tiffin
Finally, the time is here, you’ll soon know whether or not your neighbour was right about so-and-so running for mayor. The nomination period for October’s municipal elections opened on Monday, and some keen residents will be refreshing the unofficial list of candidates on the township websites as frequently as others check Instagram. Between now and Aug. 19 – nomination day – at 2 p.m., hopeful candidates will be filing their papers, announcing their official intention to run in the 2022 municipal and school board elections to be held on Oct. 24.
Those who opt to run should be applauded.
While being a municipal politician in Haliburton County is a part-time job, the most involved councillors find they spend quite a bit of time attending council and committee meetings, listening and responding to constituent concerns, and digging deeper to learn more about policy and process or what is happening elsewhere that might be of benefit to us here. Especially now that people are more connected easily through technology, it’s not unlikely that councillors have their phones with them 24/7, getting phone calls during dinner, texts during downtime and messages about landfill hours and fire bans on the weekends. And those are the relatively pleasant messages. Being a councillor can be thankless at times, but the work they do is vital – often having a greater impact on our daily lives than some decisions made at the provincial or federal level.
Those throwing their hats in the ring – one would hope – are running because they want to make a difference. They know the impact they can have in the community. They are passionate about the issues. Perhaps they think they can do better than those who came before them. Ideally, they care strongly about the environment. Hopefully they aren’t running on a grudge, or for a single issue – because the role involves much more than any one single issue – the work and understanding required of the people holding the position is much more complex.
And now if the rest of us haven’t been following as closely as we could have, it’s time to start reading, listening, and learning so we can make the best decision of the choices we are offered.
That council meetings are livestreamed now make them more accessible to those who can’t attend in person during daytime working hours. Some meetings are available for viewing after they’ve been broadcast. If you haven’t tuned in yet to see what’s happening around the virtual table, now’s a good time to switch out an evening of Netflix for a night of checking in on who is currently representing our towns, what the issues are and how they’re discussed. Visit the Township of Algonquin Highlands, Township of Minden Hills or County of Haliburton on YouTube to access past (or upcoming) meetings.
Read stories in your local papers, talk with the candidates (not in the produce section if you can help it), attend upcoming candidates’ meetings, ask questions.
There will be some big shoes, or seats, to fill in this upcoming election, with longtime leaders stepping down and hot topics – housing, climate change, costs of inflation, healthcare, community culture, waste management, lake health – ongoing. Thank those who are running as they prepare to serve the community, and take the time to prepare yourself to choose the best person for the job.