The Gleaner

Municipal government is more important than we might think

There will be a number of new faces gathered in municipal chambers across the Valley as councils meet for the first time after the municipal elections this month. There will no doubt be a lot to discuss, especially in those municipalities where voters moved collectively for a change in leadership.

It is so easy to lend much more importance to the federal and provincial levels of government while shrugging off the goings-on at the municipal level, especially since it is often our friends, family members, or neighbours that make up our local councils. The low voter turnout in some municipalities is disappointing and suggests that many may have forgotten the significant role our local councillors and mayors play in our daily lives.

The services that we simply take for granted, such as garbage and waste collection, snow removal, and road maintenance, are all based on decisions made at the local level. I imagine it is not always easy or pleasant to assume the heavy responsibility for making such decisions. For that, we should be most appreciative of the 179 candidates who ran for election, and thankful for the 119 newly elected officials who have accepted to fulfil this mandate for the next four years.

We should also be particularly grateful for the elections officers, the clerks, and the administrative teams who worked to ensure our elections were managed fairly and the results accurately sent to Elections Quebec.

The results of the elections will bring about new developments and change in our municipalities. I have no doubt that our municipal councils will continue to ensure we benefit from a high quality of community life. It cannot be said enough how lucky we are to live in a democratic society where we are freely able to vote our conscience when it comes to our leaders.

It is a shame so many did not take the opportunity to exercise their voting privilege. Democracy is delicate, and it needs to be practiced in order to be maintained. Sarah Rennie

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