It looks like municipal elections in Nova Scotia are a go for mid October.
And while health, job security, education, and figuring out our new normal has all of our attention, we cannot ignore the importance of local municipal leadership.
I used to think that provincial and federal elections were most important for Cape Breton Island, but I have come to realize that municipal politics is equally and often more important.
That’s because whatever local issues our mayor and council choose to focus on will directly influence what our provincial and federal government representatives also choose to focus on — and ultimately support with funding.
When someone says that healthcare and education are provincial responsibilities, or that poverty is a federal responsibility, please do not accept that rationale. While that may be true in some respects, it is not how decisions are actually made.
With the uncertainty that our future holds, strong local leadership is needed now more than ever.
For incumbents already in office and running for another term, I hope you will soon share your track record of success for local citizens to consider. And, that you won’t expect to win votes with name recognition alone.
For new candidates running for council or mayor, you need to start sharing soon if you hope to reach and convince enough voters to
write click your name on the ballot. People are very comfortable voting for the person they already know. If you want to break that habit, you have to demonstrate that you have something better to offer.
With door-to-door canvassing unlikely to be an option, candidates will no longer be able to rely on winning a vote simply by showing up with a smile and a handshake. You are going to have to win with clear messaging and a thoughtful communications strategy.
And part of that strategy is clearly explaining what you will fight for. Yes, fight. It’s not enough to simply say that some things are good and some things are bad. Explain your priorities and how you will achieve them for the good of all citizens.
We’re all counting on you!