Making your vote count on November 19
Municipal elections don't always attract the same attention or participation that we see at the provincial or federal level. Voter turn-out for federal or provincial elections has hovered been 65-70% for the last couple of elections. In municipal elections, the turn-out is much lower with only 30-40% of eligible voters casting their ballots on Election Day.
That's unfortunate because municipal politics are every bit as important as provincial or federal politics. Essential community infrastructures (like roads, sewers and water) are all guided by local council decisions. In many municipalities, local utilities are controlled by local governments. Planning for growth at the local and regional level is done through municipal governments. Local bus services (and in larger centres, rapid transit service) are all controlled by municipal councils.
Local government also provides an important entry point for many activists who want to make a difference in their community, province or country. For example, Mike Harcourt got his start in municipal politics. So did Gordon Campbell. Carole James began her political journey on the Victoria School Board. Hundreds of other MLAs and MPs trace their political careers back to municipal elections.
Just as we have been involved in provincial and federal politics, the labour movement is actively involved in municipal politics. Through 22 Labour Councils around the province, BC's labour movement continues to play an active role in both supporting progressive municipal candidates and lobbying municipal governments between elections to make sure that our issues are not ignored.
In the run-up to November 19, 2005, the labour movement is working to ensure two things. First, our members need to get out and vote. In a democracy like ours, it's the ballot box where we make the connection between our values and our vision for the future. If we want to create communities where our values work for everyone, we have to start by electing people who share our values. Second, we are asking our members to support, in what ever way they can, candidates endorsed by their local Labour Council.
Labour Councils across the province have interviewed all the candidates in their area to better understand where they stand on critical issues in their community. It is a rigorous process and we are asking FPSE members to contact the Labour Council in their area to find out who in their community has been endorsed by their local Labour Council.
It's important to get the word out to all our members about November 19th. If we want a community that works for everyone, we have to take the first step by ensuring our votes count. Please take the time to send out reminders to members in your workplace about the importance of their vote. Where you can, also direct members to local Labour Councils (see attached list of Labour Councils in your area) to find out the candidates that they have endorsed in their area.
Politics, at what ever level, is about choices. On November 19th make sure your choice counts for your community.
Labour Councils in BC
Campbell River, Courtenay & District Labour Council
East Kootenay District Labour Council
Kamloops & District Labour Council
Kitimat, Terrace & District Labour Council firstname.lastname@example.org
Mackenzie & District Committee Of Labour
Phone: (250) 997-3351
Mount Waddington, North Vancouver Island and District Labour Council email@example.com
Fax: (250) 284-3239
Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council
Phone: (250) 753-0201
New Westminster & District Labour Council
North Okanagan Labour Council
Peace River District Labour Council
Port Alberni & District Labour Council
Powell River & District Labour Council
Prince George &
District Labour Council
Prince Rupert Labour Council
Quesnel & District
( 250) 832-8509
South Cariboo Labour Council
Boundary Labour Council
Squamish & District
Committee of Labour
Sunshine Coast &
District Labour Council
Vancouver & District
Victoria Labour Council
West Kootenay Labour Council
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.