THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR … Who Will Speak For You?
By Paul Masterson
Elections in Tiny Township next November could be the most critical event in your cottage life for a long time to come. The majority of the present Council during the last three years clearly indicated their determination to run their own agenda and ignore the justifiable concerns and wishes of the vast majority of Tiny’s ratepayers. There have been several indications that some members of this group of Councillors have an attitude towards the majority of ratepayers that verges on disdain tinted with a touch of arrogance. Oh yes, you will be sure that come the election there will be other candidates, some already on the scene, whose platform will align themselves with this group of incumbents. You will know them by their political style.
SEEKING FAIR REPRESENTATION!
What the majority of ratepayer citizens ask and have not got is fair representation of their political and social-economic concerns. Indeed, the majority won’t have fair and responsible representation, UNLESS they get off our combined “butts”, turn whining rhetoric into determined action, find effective and committed candidates, generously volunteer our time, energies and funds, to work in the elections, shoulder the responsibility to inform ourselves as to the issues, then make a solemn commitment to vote next November. You no longer can leave it to the overtaxed, hard working few to protect your interest! You’ve got to act!.
AM I A CITIZEN OF TINY? YES BUT…
When you bought your property in Tiny, you immediately became a citizen of Tiny. It matters not whether you live there a month, three months, seven months or a year, as a citizen ratepayer you are subject to all the laws, bylaws and municipal taxes based on the same assessment scale as other citizens. Any decision and action by the Council affects you whether you lived in Perkinsfield or Thunder Beach.
But there’s a catch! A citizen you are, but an equal citizen you’re not, because vast numbers of you are classified as seasonal citizens. Although you pay substantial educational taxes to educate the children of Tiny, Provincial legislation says that you can’t send your children to school in Tiny. For the benefit of the children of Tiny we support this situation. (Although the education taxes in Simcoe County that includes Tiny is out of control at an outlandish level. – See the article in this issue.)
Nevertheless, you suffer this inequality for the present because of the pure joy and pleasure of being a part of this Georgian Bay area, a genuine “people place”. You have sincere empathy for your fellow citizens and neighbours of Tiny, an unique and favoured area. And when you, as a group, are “in resident”, you spend each year hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tiny and region, significantly boosting the economy for those operating businesses, services and entertainment facilities.
WHY GET INVOLVED IN AN ELECTION?
What motivates us for getting involved in Tiny elections.?
First of all, the experience of living in this seasonal community provides emotional and healthful pleasures for ourselves and our families. The environmental beauty, the quietude, the comfortable pace, the caring concerns of the community; all this we wish to maintain and share. We want to grow but to grow in a way that benefits the social and geographical environment that makes Tiny unique.
Secondly, we want fair representation when issues of importance that effect our concerns are discussed. Such subjects include finances, planning, and the natural environment; plus issues that define the character and quality of life that attracted all of us, permanent and seasonal residents, to Tiny in the first place.
We don’t seek to control but rather to gain and enhance representation of our viewpoint and perspective at the council or board (of education) table. For with fairer representation comes better understanding, open communication and better economic and societal planning. We seek to have our interests and ideas consulted in the early decision making process. We want to be part of the process and not surprised by “off the record/behind doors” manipulations. Our views may not always prevail but they are presented as constructive and not as ‘trouble making’ criticism. We seek only that the process is carried on with integrity and openness .
ELECTION DAY..MONDAY, 14th NOVEMBER, 1994
TINY IS A ONE WARD SYSTEM
Meaning? Tiny is a local government made up of a Council consisting of a Mayor, Deputy Mayor and 3 Councillors. Most of us are familiar with a multiple ward system, with a councillor being elected by the voters of the ward. Representation by regions is not a part of this picture. Within weeks after the last election in 1991, Tiny’s council voted to continue a one ward system. In December, 1993, the province enacted the Simcoe County Act to restructure Simcoe County. As a result the one ward system became mandatory for the November 1994 elections in Tiny.
CAN I VOTE NEXT NOVEMBER?
Of course, if you are either a resident, or if you are a non-resident who is a property owner or tenant of land (eg.,cottager). Your spouse as eligible as well. Finally, you both must be Canadian citizens and 18 years of age. Did you complete and return the Enumeration form mailed to you in late April?
WHEN DO I VOTE?
A November election date is not the easiest time for cottagers to travel north to Tiny. The dates for voting are set by the Province through the Municipal Elections Act and it affects the entire province.
You vote at a designated polling station on either the regular Election Day, 14 November/94, or on one of the two Advance Polling Dates required by law. However, because of the geographic size of Tiny, plus the convenience for time and distance to travel presents an obvious impediment for most Tiny property owners to exercise their democratic responsibility. This situation demands that the Council fully arrange for extra opportunities to vote for the people they respond to and serve.
AT LEAST FOUR ADVANCE POOLS REQUIRED!
In the 1991 election, because of the increasing number of voters, there were four advance polls. Over 44% of the votes were cast in the advance polls. In the upcoming election, the number of voters will be predictably higher.
Additional advance polls can readily be arranged by Council before Nomination Day-October 14, 1994. This action would shows that Council is doing everything possible to make the voting process as convenient as possible.
Therefore any less than four advance polls and necessary polling stations would be a sign that the Council is manipulating the election process to lessen the ability of a majority of ratepayers to express their democratic rights.
The Federation has by letter and by a presentation to the Tiny Council voiced the demand that there be no less than four advance polling dates.
Getting there yourself to the polling station to vote is the best way of exercising your franchise. But if you can’t, and because you are determined to place your vote, you can be sure your vote is cast by proxy by following the few simple steps with a qualified voter – a friend, neighbour or fellow ratepayer.
It sounds simple, you staying at home and someone voting on your behalf, however proxy voting does have a required procedure to follow. Basically, a voter is entitled to act as “voting proxy” for any number of relatives (ie., parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, and spouse of the voting proxy) or one (1) non-relative qualified elector whose name(s) appear on the voters list.
Proxy forms obtained from the town clerk’s office must be completed after Nomination Day, October 14, 1994. Then the proxy voter, in person, must have the form certified by the Township Clerk. Details and advice on this procedure will by available in due course.
The use of proxy ballots in an election is just one method of exercising your right to vote.
Finally, You must get involved…become an active member of the caring group that can make a difference.
What better place to begin than in this Georgian Bay community that means so much to you and your family.
Consider this statement by James Reston. “All politics is based on the indifference of the majority!”
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!