A while ago, you asked OurNanaimo how we could work together to achieve effective, principled, representative and productive municipal governance for Nanaimo. We’re sorry that it’s taken a while for you to hear from us – we have been busy behind the scenes and in public, because we are committed to demanding better governance for Nanaimo.
In that spirit, we were encouraged by the media coverage and support that our “one-year countdown to Election Day” event received. Even on a rainy October morning, over thirty of you came out to City Hall to signal that the time has come to improve the level of governance, debate and planning in our great city.
Since then, OurNanaimo has incorporated as a society with the Province of British Columbia, which formalizes our structure and ensures accountability.
In just a few weeks we will ring in 2018 – the municipal election year. Based on the record of the last three years, we must anticipate that Nanaimo will continue to endure more scandals, negative national news stories, expensive schemes financed by your local taxes, and – most distressingly – more attempts to limit the democratic rights of citizens.
Here is where you can help advance our goals for better governance and a better election outcome on October 20, 2018. In the short- to medium-term, please keep talking to your friends, family and neighbours about local politics, governance and planning. The more citizens are engaged and understand the responsibilities of their local government and their rights as residents and taxpayers, the more people who will scrutinize sitting councillors and ask tough questions of council-candidates.
In the longer-term, OurNanaimo is developing activities to identify, recruit and encourage qualified council candidates, to get out the vote and to continue to raise awareness about municipal governance. We will be adapting some of the approaches we used during last summer’s municipal by-election, and introducing new approaches and tactics. We will be doing specific call outs for volunteers for each activity, as we get closer to election day. Most of our efforts will be focused on the intense pre-election period following Labour Day, 2018. This is when we expect to need volunteers to help with public events across the city. As we saw during both that by-election and the Event Centre referendum (the reason we mobilized in the first place), a group of engaged and informed citizens can triumph over bad ideas and questionable campaign promises.
It will not be easy. We can expect dozens of candidates to come forward in the general election making hundreds of campaign promises. We must work hard to encourage a greater number of our fellow citizens to get out and exercise their vote, because a larger voter turnout has the greatest chance of unseating incumbents and bringing us the thoughtful, intelligent and fresh ideas we desperately need. We will all need to be out there, asking hard questions, separating the wheat from the chaff, and spreading the word in our networks and communities about the importance of voting. This is the only way we will bring in better, more effective governance and help our city fulfill its potential and build a stronger future for all citizens.
So, please, keep watching OurNanaimo.com and our Facebook page, @ournanaimo, where we will continue to post resources about better local governance. Together, we will get the municipal governance we deserve.