Making your vote count on November 19

On November 19, voters across BC will head to the polls. No, it's not a federal election or a provincial election. It's polling day in over 400 municipalities for the positions of mayor, councilors, local board members and regional district representatives.

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
(250) 923-5548

East Kootenay District Labour Council
(250) 426-2670

Kamloops & District Labour Council
(250) 374-7310

Kitimat, Terrace & District Labour Council
(250) 635-5080

Mackenzie & District Committee Of Labour
Phone: (250) 997-3351

Mount Waddington, North Vancouver Island and District Labour Council
Fax: (250) 284-3239

Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council
Phone: (250) 753-0201

New Westminster & District Labour Council
(604) 524-9311

North Okanagan Labour Council
(250) 763-5050

Peace River District Labour Council

Port Alberni & District Labour Council
(250) 724-7966

Powell River & District Labour Council
(604) 483-9800

Prince George &
District Labour Council
(250) 564-4224

Prince Rupert Labour Council
(250) 627-8833

Quesnel & District
Labour Council
(250) 992-6337

Shuswap Columbia
Labour Council
( 250) 832-8509

South Cariboo Labour Council
(250) 398-8248

South Okanagan
Boundary Labour Council
(250) 492-7252

Squamish & District
Committee of Labour
(604) 815-0811

Sunshine Coast &
District Labour Council
(604) 886-2733

Vancouver & District
Labour Council
(604) 254-0703

Victoria Labour Council
(250) 384-8331

West Kootenay Labour Council
(250) 352-9223

About FPSE

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.