Monday, March 28, 2011

Non-Voters Should Pay More!

Non-Voters Taxes Should Increase!

Perhaps if people were required to vote under penalty of seeing their taxes increase 25% more than anyone else, people might actually get off their butts and participate in their community and their country.

It is a crying shame that while people around the world are putting their lives on the line to bring in a democracy and remove tyrants, we can't even generate enough interest to take 10 minutes to cast a ballot. There are no acceptable excuses for this complete lack of caring about how we are governed.

10% Turnout "Not Too Bad" ?

Mayor Ruttan is quoted in the local press as saying that the 10% turnout wasn't too bad for a by-election! What kind of society have we devolved into, when our Mayor thinks that 90% non-participation isn't too bad?

Why Every Vote Counts!

This commentary admittedly paints with some broad strokes, but I feel is a reasonable comment on how politics work and in particular here in Nanaimo.

There will be an organized group, ie: Labour Council who would like to see someone elected who would be sympathetic to labour. For example they would be in favour of wage increases and benefits that could actually be of detriment to the city as a whole, but does favour their support base.

There will also be a business-friendly group who want to see a councillor elected who is sympathetic to the cause of business who favour development for the sake of development, tax reductions for business, lax rules covering the use of signage and even outright grants to help promote business in the community. This group would favour directing taxpayer dollars to business promotion advertising etc. and their elected councillor would be expected to make that case in council chambers.

Neither group, actually represents the majority of residents living in the city of Nanaimo, yet they will be the only ones with a voice on council if the majority of the residents don't take the time to elect THEIR representative to council



  1. Perhaps the city should shoulder some of the responsibility for the low voter turn out! They didn't seem feel this byelection was important enough to bother to mail out a proper election notice. I fielded calls for the final two days of the campaign from dozens of people who had just heard about the election and had no idea where to vote. The big concern of the city was that this byelection was going to cost over $100,000. So why not let the people of Nanaimo know about it?

  2. BRIAN: I really do find that difficult to understand. You say that you “fielded calls for the final two days of the campaign from dozens of people who had just heard about the election ...” Did you ask them why they had not been aware of same? Had they been out of town for an extended period of time or ??

    FYI - Here is PART of one detailed Public Notice that is still on City’s website .... posted by Joan Harrison, Chief Election Officer, (250) 755-4405 – and at the bottom of the “Notice of Nomination Period”, it advises that the Notice was placed in the local newspapers as follows:

    DAILY NEWS – 2011-JAN-25 and 2011-FEB-01 and BULLETIN – 2011-JAN-27 and 2011-JAN-29.

    “PUBLIC NOTICE is given to the electors of the City of Nanaimo that a by-election will be held
    on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Nominations for the office of: Councillor (1 to be elected) ...... “

    Were the individuals, who called you not aware of any of the following? That the newspapers had published several reports (both in print and online), about the by-election? That there were six candidates, who were also doing their own advertising and there was an All-candidates’ Public Forum ... (I watched the televised version on Shaw.) That there were two Advance Voting opportunities ... I also received a brochure in the mail from a candidate and it contained the date of the by-election, as well.

    These were some of the opportunities that were provided to the citizens to learn about the by-election if they were so inclined. I think that there are some citizens, who choose NOT to become informed about our democratic elections, aren’t there?

    The Preliminary Results indicate that the Total Number of Valid Votes cast was: 6,323 and that Voter Turnout was 10.1% of eligible voters. So, it appears that 6,323 of eligible voters were aware of the by-election and were also motivated enough to exercise our democratic right, (on Saturday evening, Mar. 26th from the Conference Centre, I spoke to Shaw TV about exercising our right and also referred to Canada's current involvement regarding Libya.) Maybe the two-week Spring Break here was one week too long? :)

  3. Unfortunately (especially for my generation 18-30) apathy has become commonplace. Voting is mandatory in Australia where voter turn out is in the 90% percentile! Now that is true democracy.

  4. A 25% tax hike for not participating in a municipal election? Don't make me laugh. I could get on board for penalizing people for sitting out on federal or even provincial elections (you know, those elections that actually matter), but municipal is small potatoes.

    I also like the inevitable assumption is that anyone who doesn't vote is simply sitting on his or her butt, too lazy to cast a ballot. I freely admit to not voting, but it was not due to laziness, but rather that I had other plans which I did not feel like canceling for something as insignificant as voting for city council. Was this a 'valid excuse'? Frankly I don't feel the need to justify myself to you or anyone, because I am sure it was more important than voting on candidates I don't know anything about in an election I'd only just heard of.

    Speaking of that, another thing I would like to touch on is just how ridiculously low key municipal elections are. Honestly, I did not hear one thing about it prior to a day or two before the actual election. Maybe, just maybe, if city councils did more to get the word out and actually try to make people care, they might. But in the grand scheme of things, with all that's going on in the world, paying attention to something as insignificant as a municipal election is way down on many peoples' priority lists, and rightly so.

    A 10% turnout is bad, but don't go pretending that the outcome of voting on a city council has a huge impact on how we are governed. Certainly not compared to federal or provincial governments. And don't pretend that there are no valid excuses, because you're clearly not a very imaginative person if you truly believe that's the case.

  5. I presume you don't see or read any of the newspapers, or this blog for that matter, which broadcast news of the byelection from the day it was announced until voting day.
    There were signs all over town and an all candidates meeting midway through the campaign, which was also broadcast on Shaw twice before election day.
    If you were not aware of the byelection, I can only assume you were out of town or living in a a cave someplace.
    If you don't wish to participate, fine, but blaming the media for your lack of involvement is nonsense.
    That said, you are clearly in the majority in Nanaimo.

  6. I just happened on this site and started reading and just now realized an election had passed. We haven't been out of town or hiding in a cave. The marketing must have been targeted at couch potatoes if the only notifications were online or through the shaw channel. Neither of which I check frequently. I live in the south end of town and haven't even seen campaign signs. We never miss a voting opportunity we are aware of! Let's put the blame where it belongs - poor marketing.

  7. 'Anonymous"
    I would have to assume that you don't receive either the News Bulletin or Harbour city star, which are both supposedly delivered free to all homes? Both papers covered the by-election with lots of 'ink'.
    As for signs, I don't know how you would miss them either. Perhaps you are a very attentive driver who lets nothing distract you.
    Ted Greves sent out a mailer to all Nanaimo residents, so maybe you don't read your mail either?
    What is the address of your cave??

  8. Sounds like all the marketing was targetted at those who are less environmentally aware. Cars, inked paper, television...

    Those of us in the growing community who conserve would have seen none of these forms of media. Our ever growing community of cave dwellers in Nanaimo ;-)

    Looks like the city has some things to learn from the blue box program and property rebate programs when it comes to campaigning for election. Create a buzz so everyone is talking about it.

    The 10% of the population that showed to vote were the people that complain about having to seperate their garbage into a blue bin because it is there is a fine I can support ;-)

  9. So I presume that the cave dwellers never emerge into the sunlight and ride their bikes along the E&N Trail, where signs were quite visible? Or taking the bus are so engrossed in themselves they never look out a window and see a sign?
    I presume that they only read this post on this blog, which has posted information about the election from the get-go. No cars or ink and paper involved there.
    The 10% who showed up to vote actually care enough about how the rest of their community is affected by tax expenditures, zoning changes and the like, and realize that just putting their trash in the appropriate blue, yellow and green bins is not the end of their civic DUTY!


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