Let’s shoot for a high voter turnout in Langley

We are about to hire the staff to run our community – and we’re going to give them a four-year contract.

Editor: Congratulations — it’s election time.  Each of us is like the CEO of a company. We are about to hire the staff to run our community – and we’re going to give them a four-year contract.

On Saturday, Nov. 15 we will be choosing who we want to hire to run our community for the next four years.  We’re going to be hiring our staff for both the Township council and City council, as well as who we would like to guide the vision for our schools for the next four years.

Local elections might not be as glamourous or exciting as federal elections — but in many ways, the decisions made at the local level affect us more directly in our day to day lives than often the federal and international issues do.  Local elections are important.

If we don’t choose who will run our community, someone else will do the choosing.

And if we are not willing to run for office ourselves, then it’s vital that we find someone who shares our ideas and convictions and that we then go and support them and help them with their campaign.  It’s important to attend the community meetings, forums and debates.  Once we find a candidate that we can support, we need to be their champion and help them hand out fliers and share their posts on Facebook and Twitter.

It is wonderful to see how many people in Langley have had the courage to put their name forward to say, “I have some great ideas how our town or schools should be run.”

That’s the thrilling thing about living in a free country.  Almost everyone has the opportunity to run for office — (except criminals and non-citizens.)  Aren’t you glad that our government doesn’t give us their “approved” list of candidates to choose from?  So unless we’d prefer to move to one of those countries, we must not take our freedoms for granted.

We cannot passively watch another election go by.  We need to get involved in our country and community, and our children and teens need to see that we care and are involved.  We need to discuss the issues as we are driving to school or over the dinner table – to help our children become informed and engaged.

You can help your school run the “Student Vote” (http://studentvote.ca).

I was in Scotland a few weeks ago on the night of the big vote in September, where they had temporarily lowered the voting age to 16.  (It seemed to me to be a very young age – 16—but as they explained to me, if a young person is old enough to die in battle for his country, he or she was old enough to vote for his country. I was amazed by how articulate and informed many of the young people that I talked to were about the issues.)  How many of our own teens are conversant about the issues our community is facing—and our nation is facing?

So fellow Langley citizens, let’s get to work and do our homework, research the issues and candidates, and do our part in this election for our community.

Step #1.  Ask ourselves:  “What local issues do I really care about and do I feel are important for Langley?”

Step #2.  Do I live in the Township or the City?  Who are the candidates?  Go to their websites and Facebook pages and see what they stand for.  Compare the candidates’ stands on issues.  Call them — there is always a phone number listed, and get to know them.  Ask them some questions.  When you find a candidate that most closely represents your stands on issues, offer your support.

Step #3.  Get to the advance polls if possible, so you can help your candidate get other voters to the polls on voting day – Nov. 15h.  Every vote matters.  It’s unbelievable how many major elections over the centuries and past years have been determined by just one vote.

Step #4.  Stay involved.  Attend council and school board meetings—they’re usually only once or twice a month, (or read the minutes).  Hold your elected representatives accountable to their promises, and keep them informed of your ideas and concerns.  Don’t forget — they work for you.  You hired them and you can give them an extension or fire them at the next election.

One additional thought.  If we stand on the sidelines during the election campaign, and don’t vote and don’t even try to make an effort to influence who our community will “hire” to run our Township council, City council or board of education for the coming four years, then we forfeit our right to ever complain about those who are elected, once their term begins.

Let’s not become another apathetic local statistic regarding voter turnout.  Let’s show Canada that Langley cares.  Let’s get engaged now and help Langley have the highest voter turnout in the Fraser Valley.

Judi Vankevich,

Langley