With the municipal election fast approaching, people sometimes wonder why they should vote: “What’s the point? Does my vote matter? What does city government do for me anyway?” These are common questions around election cycles. Luckily, if you’re curious about why it’s important to get your vote out, we’ve got you covered! Here are four good reasons to vote in this year’s municipal and school board elections:
- Voting is a feminist issue: Previous blog posts have discussed why it’s important for women to vote. In 2017, women continue to be underrepresented in most levels of government, including on City Council. Along with running for office, women can make their voice heard by informing themselves about candidates and voting. There are a number of policy issues at the municipal and school board level that are feminist issues: affordable housing, poverty reduction strategies and city planning all impact women and shape our safety and inclusion in the city.
- City councillors make decisions that impact your life: While many decisions in Canada are made at the Federal and Provincial level, local government, through City Council, has power over a number of decisions that impact the lives of people living in their City. For example, decisions related to city planning, roads, housing development and local transportation all go through City Hall. City councillors make decisions about local bylaws like parking, the cost of transit and funding for emergency services like police, EMS and firefighters.
- City Council is a way for you to make your voice heard about the issues you care about in your community: Your City Councillor is your voice at City Hall. Do you have an issue you really care about? Like making it safer for pedestrians to walk in your neigbourhood? Or keeping the low-income bus pass available for people who need it? Or keeping your local playground clean for your kids to play in? Do you want services in your neighbourhood that make it easier for you and your neighbours to get help when you need it? These are all issues that your City Councillor can help advocate for at City Council. Getting informed about your candidates will help you decide which is most likely to advocate for your interests.
- School board trustees represent our voice on issues related to education: On October 16, along with electing City Councillors, you will cast a vote for your school board trustee. School board trustees are responsible for providing a local perspective on everything to do with public education. Trustees matter because they help shape provincial policies around education. Public education matters because it is a public good: the majority of children in Alberta attend public schools. Ensuring that these children get the best possible education, in safe and accessible environments, is something that matters to all of us, regardless of whether we have children or not.
This post was written by Bronwyn, a member of the Women’s Centre Board and Social Policy Committee.