Opinion: The four years ahead

With 75 per cent of voters staying home Saturday, does that mean they're satisfied, or disenchanted?

Despite calls for sweeping change, both by some of the candidates and in online discussions, there was little of that Saturday evening.

Of the 14 people who make up city council and the board of education, only three will be new.

Indeed, all but one incumbent failed to win re-election.

There had been a determined effort in some quarters to oust the incumbents for a variety of perceived sins; one candidate even posed with a broom in front of City Hall, calling for a “clean sweep.” They were accused of neglecting the downtown, failing to stop crime, failing to support public education, failing to protect the environment.

But when the votes were counted Saturday evening, that anger and online vitriol did not translate into change.

So is that an affirmation of the work done by these two elected bodies over the past three years?

It is certainly tempting to think so.

But only to a point. It’s important to remember that, despite a better turnout than in 2011, more than 75 per cent of eligible voters did not vote.

Certainly Sharon Gaetz can find satisfaction in her commanding win. But she and the other victors on Saturday night must acknowledge that the majority of voters stayed at home.

True, that could mean they’re satisfied with the way things are being done.

However, it could also be that they’ve simply given up; that they believe their vote and their voice has little impact on the course this community will take over the next four years.

Winning back that majority is the challenge for the new council and school board.

The essence of democracy is not only delivering to those who elected you, but listening, engaging and accommodating those who did not.

Just Posted

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk strolls into Chilliwack next month

Photographers meet up to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

Missing Chilliwack 17-year-old last seen on August 20

RCMP asking public for help to find Lorenz Pentz

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Turbo and Lily at the Chilliwack SPCA

Say hello to Turbo and Lily, a pair of one-year-old dogs up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Most Read