Editorial — A sad voter turnout

It’s understandable why so few Langley Township residents voted in a byelection for one seat on the Langley Board of Education on Saturday, but it is very disappointing.

Less than four per cent of those eligible came to the polls. Of those who did, 1,311 voted for first-time candidate Cecelia Reekie, and she won.

Reekie, although new to running for office, had some solid support. She was backed by trustees Rob McFarlane and Wendy Johnson, and also by former board chair and Langley City mayor Marlene Grinnell. Her candidacy was the subject of a “go out and vote for” letter from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and was also backed, at least in spirit, by the executive of the Langley Teachers Association.

She also received support from people she has worked with on school parent advisory committees and aboriginal education committees.

Reekie also has firsthand political experience, as the daughter of longtime former NDP MLA John Cashore, who served in the cabinets of the Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark governments.

It appears that, other than those mobilized by the campaigns of Reekie and her closest competitor, Hattie Hogeterp, few others bothered to vote. They likely felt that the election didn’t mean much. It was for one position on the board of education for less than a year.

Nonetheless, this is a sad reflection on democracy. Langley School District has a $13 million debt to pay off in the next three years. Many schools are facing possible closure, due to declining enrolment. At the same time, more schools are needed in the Willoughby area, which will one day house 75,000 people. At present, it has just four schools.

There have been lingering tensions on the board over the decision to bring in a middle school at H.D. Stafford in the fall of 2008, and people who opposed that decision backed Reekie as well — even though many of them live in Langley City and could not vote in this election.

The seven trustees who currently comprise the board of education need to work together on all the issues before them. Their focus must be on ensuring that Langley students receive an education that is as good or better that those in any other part of the province, even though $13 million in operating funds will have to be paid back to Victoria in the coming years.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Inaugural township-wide garage sale rated a success

‘It went extremely well,’ said veteran garage sale participant

Taekwondo Festival draws hundreds to Langley Events Centre

Annual event a showcase of Korean martial art skills, culture and music

VIDEO: Bowen Byram named top prospect

Giants defenceman recognized as premier NHL draft pick

Langley golfer James Allenby takes Canada Life Open lead

Shot career-low round at Point Grey Golf & Country Club

Langley Thunder kick off 2019 season with high hopes

Home opener set for Wednesday, May 29 against the Burnaby Lakers.

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in B.C. gangster Jamie Bacon’s trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

Most Read