Get in­volved

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE -

New cam­paign aims to get peo­ple in­ter­ested, in­volved in lo­cal pol­i­tics.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador (MNL) wants you to make your mark in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion — whether that means hav­ing your own name on a bal­lot or tick­ing some­one else’s.

Karen Old­ford, pres­i­dent of MNL, said more than half of this prov­ince’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties didn’t have enough can­di­dates for an elec­tion four years ago.

“Only 45 per cent of coun­cils dur­ing the last pro­vin­cial elec­tion for mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils needed to have an elec­tion. That meant 55 per cent went in by ac­cla­ma­tion or didn’t have enough peo­ple, in fact, to run and had to have a by­elec­tion,” she said.

“And 25 per cent of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were un­able to fill all the po­si­tions on their coun­cil since the last elec­tion. There’s still that many that don’t have their full quota.”

The Make Your Mark cam­paign, launched last Tues­day, aims to change that by en­cour­ag­ing more cit­i­zens run­ning for coun­cil in their com­mu­ni­ties. The cam­paign web­site fea­tures a series of videos that pro­vide in­sight into what it’s like to work as a mem­ber of coun­cil.

Mount Pearl Coun. Paula Tessier, in one of the fea­tured videos, says she hears a lot of peo­ple talk­ing about run­ning for of­fice “one of these days.”

“Do it now,” she urges. “This day is bet­ter than any day. Do it now. If you have the ini­tia­tive and you have the drive and you have the in­ter­est in do­ing it, in run­ning for coun­cil, run for coun­cil now. It’s scary, but what’s scarier is want­ing to do some­thing and not try­ing.”

Along with the videos, the web­site pro­vides handy re­sources for prospec­tive can­di­dates, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion about elec­tion sig­nage reg­u­la­tions, the prov­ince’s Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tions Act, and a guide for fe­male can­di­dates writ­ten by the Al­berta Gov­ern­ment.

Along with fill­ing seats, Old­ford said the cam­paign aims to add a lit­tle di­ver­sity to mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments.

“When we look at the age of our coun­cil­lors, many of our coun­cil­lors are over the age of 50 for sure. Most of them prob­a­bly even re­tirees.

“We’re try­ing to in­crease the di­ver­sity at our ta­ble by ap­peal­ing to women, who form 50 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, yet 37 per cent of the elected coun­cil­lors to our ta­bles. And youth, who again, are only rep­re­sented at 3.5 per cent of our coun­cils,” she said.

“This web­site hope­fully will in­crease our di­ver­sity around our coun­cil ta­bles and en­cour­age peo­ple to rec­og­nize that they do have a role to play and that they can, in fact, be a coun­cil­lor and have a pos­i­tive im­pact on their com­mu­nity.”

Old­ford said the cam­paign, while it’s be­ing launched in time for the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, will be an on­go­ing ef­fort to get peo­ple to make their mark.

Visit the cam­paign web­site at www. makey­our­marknl.ca.

SUB­MIT­TED

Mount Pearl Coun. Paula Tessier is one of the cur­rent coun­cil mem­bers fea­tured on the new Make Your Mark web­site. The cam­paign aims to get more peo­ple in­volved in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics.

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