Beyond the Headlines

And the winner is

Posted: Oct 22, 2012 10:57 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 22, 2012 10:57 AM ET
The votes are in, and once again the big winner in the Halifax municipal elections is complacency.

Only 37 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot; a number that ties a record low. That means almost 200,000 Haligonians made the conscious decision not to participate in the democratic process.

And voting could not have been easier. For more than two weeks anyone with a computer and an internet connection could cast their ballot from the privacy of their own home. They could vote in their scuzzy comfy clothes or in their pyjamas - they could have even voted naked if they wanted to. The whole process from login to send took about two minutes.

Still almost two thirds of eligible voters couldn't be bothered to take a short break from Facebook or Pinterest to chose our new mayor and council. The thing is, many of these same people, do make an effort to vote in provincial and federal elections. Yet in many ways municipal politics has more of an impact on our daily lives then the two more senior levels of government.

Councillors decide how much property tax you pay on your home. Their budget decisions determine the number of police officers on our streets, the level of fire protection for our homes and buildings, and the quality of water that comes out of our taps.

They're responsible for the road system and transit service that goes a long way in determining the length of your morning commute.

And their votes can make the difference between the downtown core being overrun by high rises or choked to death by "view planes".

There's an old saying that voters get the leadership they deserve. Let's hope our new mayor and council rise above the low standard we've set for them in this election. 
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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