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Elect to elect the best for the job

Two more sleeps to go and then municipal election day will be upon us.

Two more sleeps to go and then municipal election day will be upon us. For those who have availed themselves of the advance polls, you can sleep in on Monday morning, snuggled in the comforting thought that you have already discharged your civic duty. The rest of us however, will need to roll out of bed early, put the coffee on, do some mental stretching and head out to the polling station to exercise our democratic right to cast a ballot.

Hopefully we will all have done our homework in reflecting upon and discerning which candidates will get the nod. Reading about the issues at hand, researching the candidates’ platforms and spending some quality time thinking about the next three years of governance are usually good indicators that you are ready to make an informed choice. This is a far better approach than some of the voting voodoo methods I have heard some people employ such as voting for the person with the coolest sign, voting for the person with the biggest sign, voting for the person with the most signs or worse yet, voting for candidates based on how they look. At least these approaches to casting the ballot are better than ‘eeney, meeney, miny, mo, which I am told works swell for federal elections.

Of the three levels of governance, I must say I truly enjoy municipal elections the most. Perhaps this is because civic elections tend to be more civil. Instead of the knock your opponent down, fear-mongering headstrong partisan politics into which provincial and federal elections devolve, a municipal election allows the voter to see the person instead of a party. For me this is key. I want to gain insight into the person so that I can better appreciate how he or she will handle the hot button topics and how he or she will advocate for the bread and butter issues that are the table talk topics of our city. In essence, I want to make sure I select the candidates I feel will best represent my views on how I want to see St. Albert grow.

Transparency of governance, holding firmly to values in the face of adversity and adhering to the principle of subsidiary — the idea that people can work together at a local level to resolve issues relevant to the community — are integral qualities for a local politician. We want to choose people who can tackle the larger issues e.g. taxation rates, housing or why the Walmart parking lot is slowly transforming into a used car/RV lot. (Ever heard of Auto Trader?)

Sir Winston Churchill once said: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." I would like to believe that in this day and digital age we have become more attuned to the issues surrounding the upcoming election. I would like to believe that all citizens who are eligible will take the time to vote.

Each ballot lends a voice to the democratic process that our country holds so dear. To simply dismiss your civic responsibility and not actively participate in such a democratic action as casting your ballot diminishes the harmony of the greater chorus. American novelist and scholar John Gardner reminds us that “the citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.”

On Monday Oct. 18, I hope this is the case.

Tim Cusack has given serious thought about running ... on his treadmill.