Tough times call for tough people. The 'r' word is being floated all around us these days. The pundits are saying our dollar, worth over $1.10 American just a year ago, could suddenly shrink to $.70 American. So what are we to do?
For starters, let's begin by looking around us to the brave folks who are letting their names stand in the November municipal elections. Let's start asking the hard questions: How will they handle our tax dollars? Do they foresee tax increases? What do they think can be done on a municipal level to help those who will be hardest hit by a recession: the working poor, the homeless and the ill? How will they work with provincial and federal levels of government to make sure we see a fair return of the many taxes we pay?
No one ever enters civic politics to make their fortune. The men and women running in this crucial election are doing so because they genuinely care about their community and the people in it. So now it comes down to whose message best reflects your own values. There are many ways to determine what each candidate's platform is.
Go to the many forums scheduled for the next few weeks. If you're not able to attend the events, watch Coast Cable 11 for rebroadcasts of the meetings. Thanks to this excellent service, you're able to keep up-to-date on current events. Read carefully the candidates' profiles in this newspaper. Beginning this week and continuing over the next three weeks, all candidates wishing to submit a statement will be profiled on our pages. Talk and really listen to what your neighbours have to say about what's important to them.
If you still have questions after you've done your homework, pick up the phone and ask the candidate what his or her stand is on the issue you're concerned about.
And then - mostly importantly - vote!
Once the dust settles and the new councils and boards are sworn in, then you can truly assess the sincerity of the candidates. And as an engaged citizen, you can hold the elected officials accountable.
After all, as Gibsons Mayor Barry Janyk once said, no matter where the elected officials go in their community, they're accessible to the electorate. And if you don't think that takes a tough person, think again.