Press sees South End as Key Neighbourhood in Civic Election

The recent series in the Nanaimo Daily News offered this food for thought on the upcoming Civic Election on November 15:

Nanaimo’s south-end community has seen the impact of its local government this past year: an increased police presence to control the illegal drug activity, funding to rejuvenate Deverill Square Park, and councillors defending residents who refused to accept a homeless drop-in centre at the Balmoral Hotel. These accomplishments are a result of organized petitioning by neighbours who were eager to make their streets safer. The movement could lead to an increase in south-end voters in the fall election, as residents want to take a more proactive approach to shaping their community.

The South End Community Association wants its members to keep up their end of the democratic bargain when it comes time to vote.

“We’ve been through so much in this neighbourhood, it’s making the election a very real concept for us,” said Barbara Densmore, who sits on the community association executive committee. “People have that tendency to complain so easily, but if you don’t vote, you don’t really have a right to complain. Voting is empowering and you get a chance once to do it every few years in November, so exercise your power.”

Getting involved in local government is a responsibility of every citizen, not just for her neighbours, according to south-end resident Patricia Portsmouth. The last civic election in Nanaimo brought out 35% of eligible voters, strikingly similar to the provincial average for civic elections. That rate is “disappointing” for Portsmouth, who has worked on campaign teams at several levels of government.

“I run into some people who say they vote federally, but not municipally, which always surprises me because it’s so close to us,” she said.

“The laws and bylaws have so much impact on us and people don’t realize that.”

The complete article:

Neighbourhoods start push for election involvement



Filed under Civic Election, South End Press

2 responses to “Press sees South End as Key Neighbourhood in Civic Election

  1. That’s great. It’s true that if more South End residents got out there and voted it could make some real and positive changes to the city of Nanaimo!

  2. Larry Gambone

    I wonder if Canadians failure to vote municipally in large numbers has something to do with both the centralization of political power which exists here and also the unrepresentative at-large system that most cities use. In Canada, the provincial government can constitutionally over-ride a municipal government, and furthermore, many things that could be done or controlled at the local level are the domain of the provincial government. In Europe, most especially Switzerland, municipalities are more or less autonomous and much of the tax-base plus social programs, environmental control etc are powers vested in the municipality. Hence a very high percentage of people vote municipally, and in the case of Switzerland, LESS at the federal level. The at-large system means that all neighborhoods are usually not represented by an individual councilor, and indeed, since the wealthy tend to vote more than the poor, councilors tend to be mostly from the richer sections of the city. The needs of working people therefore tend to be overlooked, this leads to discouragement and people do not vote – a kind of vicious circle. I should add that cities used to have a ward system but it was abolished in order to keep the CCF/NDP from gaining traction municipally, in other words its abolition was as a form of political corruption.

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