Sunday November 23, 2014

EDITORIAL - Local politicians stay in touch


Increasingly people are staying away from the voting booth the days.

There is a growing feeling that as voters we have less, and less, impact on what happens in the halls of power, whether that is federally in Ottawa, down the highway in Regina provincially, or right here in Yorkton at City Hall.

Voters often see the trek to the polling station as little more than an act in democracy, but one no longer mattering.

We all too often see our elected officials making a folly of the workings of government.

The list seems to ever grow longer.

In Ottawa it is questionable federal tactics in dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board, or how the current government seems disinterested in correcting the improprieties being uncovered in the out-dated Senate.

Then in Regina we see the strange decision to kill standardbred racing in the province, a direct slap to Yorkton as home to the sport in recent years, a decision which in the grand scheme of provincial spending would account for less than a half kilometre of new highway.

And let’s not forget the elimination of the film tax credit to the detriment of the film sector in the province, only to miraculously find a couple of million to get one film, a Corner Gas feature length effort made here. It was a decision about the provincial government saving face in the wake of suggestion the film might be shot elsewhere.

Voters are left shaking their heads to decisions which seem to run counter to common sense, and no matter how much one might talk to their elected representatives,  few things are ever changed back even if that would be the better course to take.

But the brush we tend to paint all politicians with should maybe not be used for municipal representatives.

The members of Council are still our neighbours, and lending their ear to discuss decisions taken in Council chambers remains rather easy.

And at least locally our Mayor and Council have kept the option for dialogue open.

They could have passed the 2015 Budget and its six per cent tax hike at the July 7, meeting of Council, but tabled the decision until September to allow a time for taxpayer reaction to be heard.

And last week Mayor Bob Maloney, and other members of Council hit the downtown streets taking part in a Yorkton Chamber of Commerce initiative to meet with business owners to hear concerns first hand.

Having such opportunities to have a voter voice with municipal decision makers sets them apart from higher levels of government, in respect to voters still feeling they can have a real influence. That is something our local Council still holds dear in terms of its approach to governance.



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