We are in election overload. Not only are we prepping for local elections, but there is also a full-blown federal election underway. Didn’t they know in Ottawa that we were busy thinking about electing mayors and councillors here?
There are some areas where the local and national issues align. Climate change is one. Is the Canadian government encouraging the use of electric vehicles, as the American president announced this summer? But we are more concerned with local issues. Ask your local mayors and councillors if they are moving to use electric vehicles for their municipalities. Quebec is blessed with the cheapest electric power in North America. Time to take advantage of it. Towns can also work on installing charging stations. One look at the traffic in the area shows there are a great number of private electric cars.
Other local issues include the flood of tourists to rural paths and beaches during the pandemic. What are the priorities: tourists or residents, and can we accommodate both?
An extension of that is the popularity of the region for people to live and work. Excellent internet services mean many can work away from cities. That has put pressure on housing prices across the rich world – and we are part of the rich world. In many ways, housing is a municipal issue, and towns can encourage or discourage sensible development for all, in particular with proper zoning laws.
And speaking of zoning, many of the newcomers seem to feel they are entitled to flaunt the rules by cutting down trees to improve their view of the lake, or extending their property’s footprint into public land. Zoning is one thing; enforcing it another.
Federal parties will be seeking your vote. But in many ways, local government is more important; it affects the things that are closest to us. Ask questions and vote.