On July 1st, citizens across Canada celebrated the 151st anniversary of Confederation. There is so much that makes us each different, and on Canada Day we are reminded of what unites us – a common bond as citizens in a democracy. Part of this bond means that we each have the right to exercise our vote for who we want making decisions at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.
This fall, on October 22, 2018, residents of Niagara will be able to cast their vote for the next municipal government. For the first time, Niagara’s Regional Chair will also be elected by general vote. The Regional Chair is the head of Regional Council and the Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Corporation.
The Voter Turnout Indicator in the Community Belonging Sector of the triennial Living in Niagara quality of life report indicates that during the last municipal election in 2014, an average of 41.3% of eligible voters across the region cast their vote. This is slightly lower than the average voter turnout in 2010 (41.9%) (Living in Niagara report-2017).
Municipal governments directly impact the vitality and vibrancy of local communities by overseeing policies, programs and services in areas such as libraries, parks, community water systems, local police, and transportation. Information about these activities is shared by municipalities in many formats, including through Open Data. People are empowered to participate more fully in the community, economy, and political process when they engage with this data and information. These and other Open Data concepts will be explored at the Canadian Open Data Summit being hosted in Niagara on November 7 to 9, 2018 (www.opendatasummit.ca).
By voting in a municipal election you are having a direct impact on the day-to-day life of your community.
As you reflect this week on Canada Day celebrations and what it means to be a citizen in this country, we encourage you to look forward and consider how you can help shape your community by casting your vote on October 22nd. To find out if you are on the voter list, visit https://www.voterlookup.ca/home.aspx
The Niagara Connects Team