The Town of Aurora Municipal Elections 2014 campaign is now in effect. Last week on January 21st, 2014 I attended the Town of Aurora council meeting at the Town Hall. When I attend council meetings I usually sit in the back and take my digital notes. I go to the meetings for my own interest, to listen, learn, laugh sometimes, and perhaps suggest a change. Often I get sidetracked from boredom and immerse myself into my own thoughts. Many times the question is – why am I sitting here with so few people?
The few often come to speak on particular issues. I often think – there have to be more people that enjoy politics, or do not enjoy politics but want to make a difference in our expanding community. Perhaps not everyone is insane like me to venture out on a freezing Tuesday evening and then punish myself sitting in a frozen car for twenty minutes just to defrost my windshield; all that just to watch the council meeting in live action.
Perhaps that evening many Aurora residents were sitting in front of their TV or computer in the comfort of their own home and watching the Town of Aurora council meeting. Perhaps people were generally not interested and would only raise their voice when needed. Perhaps people were inclined to leave the council room because of the often heard suggestion – ‘if your topic is over you can go now if you want’. Perhaps residents just gave up on politics for various reasons and now have better things to do? Or my last perhaps – perhaps we do need more communication sessions between local government and the public – question and answer sessions where Aurora citizens can freely speak with our mayor, council and administrative staff. Why not get youth involved? Can this start happening now that the Municipal Elections 2014 are a highlight of this year’s politics?
I myself was never really interested in politics until my late thirties. I may have been discouraged by living through the effects of Martial Law in the early eighties. Often we say ‘what’s the point’, better go with the flow. Resistance can be harmful, but what I didn’t know was that we can challenge change. I was about 10 years old and I didn’t understand what was happening. Through the eyes of a child I saw – less food, food stamps, and line ups at the stores, no candies, no school supplies, police and army on the streets.
“In the morning, thousands of soldiers in military vehicles patrolled streets of every major city. A curfew was imposed, the national borders were sealed, airports were closed, and road access to main cities was restricted. Telephone lines were disconnected, mail was subject to postal censorship, all independent organizations were criminalized, and classes in schools and at universities were suspended.” Source: Wiki.
And that’s how it was. I live in a different country now. Circumstances, location and times are all different. I live in a democratic country where everyone’s voice matters. I am an adult now who understands how the system works.
When I finally took the blindfold off my eyes I first started to follow federal and provincial politics. I started with the big picture not realizing how influential our local municipal government can be on our community. There is certainly an affiliation between all three levels of governments, but the most accessible to us is our local government where we can vote, we can speak and we can make a difference more effectively. Municipal governments form the roots of the provincial and federal governments.
Perspective is critical. We can influence change if we change ourselves. Change comes from within – the change I am suggesting is – change your view of local politics and get more involved. We can’t leave all the work and decisions for our council – they exist to represent us, and we must get involved in the decision making.
In about nine months on October 27, 2014 the Municipal Elections 2014 will take place and we are going to have a newly elected municipal government. Shall we start focusing on the future already? Maybe not – before you start examining campaigner platforms you must be familiar with the current issues. Do you know your current local government? Do your due diligence before you vote for a better tomorrow and try to experience what is happening right now. It is not too late to get involved in local politics and meet your local government.
Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes